||Issue No. 124||15 February 2002|
Chickens Come Home
Unions: Winning the Heartland
Interview: Swan's Song
Corporate: Lessons from Enron
Politics: What We Did Last Summer
History: Solidarity in Song
International: A Tale of Two Cities
Poetry: Nobody Told Me
Review: Labor and the Rings
Satire: Rafter Named Bermudan Of The Year For Tax Purposes
The Locker Room
Week in Review
'International Labour's Year in Review' - A Re-View
Collins Gets Cryptic
Carr on Notice - Expectations Up
Premier Bob Carr received a cool reception when he addressed the NSW Labor Council's Annual General Meeting this week – his first visit to Trades hall since the picket on State Parliament over cuts to workers compensation entitlements last June.
While there was no mention of the W-word in the speech, delegates made their feelings felt from the floor.
Labor Council secretary John Robertson said that while the links between unions and the ALP were strong, "the relationship had been tested" in the previous 12 months.
"Expectations are now higher that the government will act on issues of concern to the union movement - not because we are ask for it, but because it is the right thing to do," he said.
Robertson nominated government contracting policies, the regulation of labour hire and standards for the call center industry as issues for specific concern.
But he said the threat of a conservative government's attack on workers rights could not be under-estimated.
Carr's address focused on the government's achievements in industrial relations, its plan to $70 million in capital works this financial year and a series of undertakings for future reform linked to the review of the 1996 Industrial Relations Act.
Key initiatives over the coming 12 months would include:
- new, clear legislation on annual leave and Long Service Leave entitlements.
- implementation of recommendations for the inquiry into labour hire
- and in principle support for the ACTU call center charter - although this would be adapted "to meet requirements specific to NSW".
The Premier contrasted his government's achievements to the on-going attacks on workers rights by the Howard Government and said that "Fortress NSW" was now a reality.
And he said that since the federal election he had been a consistent advocate for the trade union movement within the Party. "If Labor had been defeated without organic links to the union movement, we'd now be looking at ways of inventing and organic link between Labor and the trade unions."
Meanwhile, the Labor Council has paid tribute eight unionists for their contribution to the movement, presenting them with scrolls of honour at the AGM:
· John Hennessy retiring general secretary of the NSW Teachers Federation
· Alastair Macdonald, from the ASU Clerkes branch recently appopinted a commissioner to the NSW IRCAustralian Services Union (NSW C & A Branch)
· Joseph Lyons, from the MEU
· Dougal Watt, secretary of the The Real Estate Association of NSW
· Joon Shik Shin, a Korean activist with the CFMEU, Construction & General Division
· Herman English, a long-time CFMEU delegate to the Labor Council.
· Madge Neilson from the NSW Nurses' Association
· and John Taylor also from the NSW Nurses
Speaking on behalf of the eight, John Hennessy said the Council had changed dramatically since the days when the factions used to sit facing each other and spoiling for a blue.
"The most positive development in my mind has been that when any affiliate raises an issue at this Council they get the support of the entire movement in this State."
Hennessy said highlights of his time at the Council included the campaign against the Metherell education reforms, when all unionists backed the Teachers Federation.
And he said he would remember with pride the day unions took a stand for workers compensation outside State Parliament.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|