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Issue No. 124 15 February 2002  

Chickens Come Home
For anyone who believes in karma, the events of the summer show how bad Australia's is right now.


Unions: Winning the Heartland
John Robertson unveils new research on attitudes to refugees and argues it's time for unions to mount their own propaganda war.

Interview: Swan's Song
Federal ALP front-bencher Wayne Swan expands on his ideas for rebuilding the Party in the wake of the Tampa election.

Corporate: Lessons from Enron
Jim Marr looks at the shock-waves the collapse of a US corporate heavy-weight are having around the globe.

Politics: What We Did Last Summer
We look back over a summer when it all went pear-shaped. Some events, at home and abroad, look set to have ongoing ramifications.

History: Solidarity in Song
Mark Gregory looks back on the annals of labour songs and offers some hints for those planning a tilt at the Labor Council's worker anthem comp.

International: A Tale of Two Cities
New York and Port Alegre are poles apart � but they both played host to important conferences on the future of globalisation over the summer.

Poetry: Nobody Told Me
Labour academic David Peetz commits the Prime Minister's current woes to verse.

Review: Labor and the Rings
Tolkien�s epic tale provides a timely reminder that that there are forces of good and evil in the world � and that they are not necessarily where we expect to find them, writes Michael Gadiel.

Satire: Rafter Named Bermudan Of The Year For Tax Purposes
Australian of the Year Pat Rafter was last night also named Bermudan of the Year, in a simple ceremony held in Bermuda's Parliament.


 Unions' Commit to Battle for Hearts

 Carr on Notice - Expectations Up

 Mad Monk Sides With Angels � Briefly

 Maritime Union Acts on Spy Scandal

 May Day Play-Off for Workers' Anthem

 Burmese Links Shroud Winter Olympics

 New Phone Venture One.Tel In Drag

 Two Million Face Rights Downgrade

 Enron Collapse Hits Share-Owner Agenda

 Corrrigan Snaps Up Rail Bargain

 Kinko Clowns With Workers' Rights

 MPs Face Security Checks

 Telstra's Tragic Delays Of Its Own Making

 Burrow Puts Case to World Economic Forum

 Shangri La Protests Hit Melbourne

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Chinks in the Armour
The ACTU's Michael Crosby argues that Mark Latham's attack on the Labor for Refugees movement is the betrayal of Party values.

The Locker Room
Off-side in Korea?
With the World Cup set to kick off in a matter of months, South Korea's treatment of unions is under the microscope.

Week in Review
Cloak and Dagger
In the first of what will be a regular column, we place the week's labour news into a nutshell.

 In Whose Interests?
 'International Labour's Year in Review' - A Re-View
 Belly's Broad-Side
 Collins Gets Cryptic
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Telstra's Tragic Delays Of Its Own Making

The Telstra employees' union (CEPU) has dismissed Telstra's claim that lengthy service delays were caused by recent heavy rain.

Instead the Union puts the problem down to more avoidable human causes.

Ian McCarthy, the CEPU's NSW Telecommunications Branch Secretary, says that his Union had been warning for some years that Telstra�s savage staff cuts would eventually hit consumers.

"Telstra's programme of staff reductions, budget cuts and outsourcing is proving disastrous for people who rely on their telephones," McCarthy says.

"Now management appear to have the very tragic death of 10 year old Sam Boulding on their conscience. Sam�s parents have every right to blame Telstra's senior managers and to seek an explanation so that the lives of other people are protected during an emergency. Without a phone people in the country are reduced to 18th century communications.

"This problem is particularly acute in rural areas where many technical staff have been forced to cover extremely short staffing by massively increased overtime. It's therefore thoroughly duplicitous of Telstra to offer the weak excuse, which I've seen in media reports, that the company couldn't afford the overtime required to fix the Boulding's phone. In 2002, because of staff shortages, this business is thriving on excessive overtime to the cost of many of our members' health and lifestyle.

"Yet quite incredibly, Telstra plans to get rid of another 10,000 workers this year.

"Many Telstra employees worked their guts out during the recent bushfires even thought their own homes were threatened at times and they were unable to be with their families at a time of crisis.

"To add insult to injury Telstra recently announced that they were to trial new maintenance arrangements using private contractors. This move would have placed thousands more Telstra jobs at risk.

"This is not the way to say thanks for the magnificent effort these technicians put in during the recent bushfire crisis. "

The Union has warned Telstra management that unless steps were taken urgently fault delays would blow out even further and simply moving the dwindling number of technical staff around the country would be no long term fix.

"We understand that hundreds of technicians have been moved into NSW from Victoria, Queensland and South Australia in an attempt to reduce service delays. This in turn has left those states short staffed and vulnerable to service delays and there is evidence emerging that this is already happening," McCarthy says.


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