Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 14 Official Organ of LaborNet 21 May 1999  

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Features
*  Interview: Madame President
The new President of the NSW Legislative Council Meredith Burgmann has spent most of her life opposing authority. Now she has a chance to exercise it.
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*  Unions: The ACTU Faces the Labour Hire Challenge
The enormous growth in labour hire and contracting out employment is creating a big challenge for unions worldwide.
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*  History: The Wartime Women’s Employment Board
During World War II policy makers were forced to embraqce a unique wage-fixing method.
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*  Labour Review: What's New from the Information Centre
View the latest issue of Labour Review, Labor Council's fortnightly newsletter for unions.
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*  Review: Origlass Biographer Keeps Red Flag Flying
The self proclaimed 'ultra-democrat', Hall Greenland, has described his relationship with the Balmain legend Nick Origlass as "Freudian".
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*  International: Paddy's Payback
But for the Timorese many Australian diggers, like retired wharfie Paddy Kenneally, would have died at the hands of the Japanese during WW2. Now it's time to return the favour...
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*  Campus: Tales from the Frontline
This week's successful VSU protests seem to have killed off Kemp's ideological agenda. We go live to the protest
*


Retired Wharfie: Paddy Kenneally Repays a Debt

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News


Builders Protest Labour Hire Sackings


Call For IR Crisis Talks as Country Conference Looms
NSW unions are seeking crisis talks with the Premier over industrial relations reform as they prepare to take their proposals to the ALP Country Conference for endorsement.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers Sacked for Body Hire
Workers for a firm which fits out Woolworths and Coles supermarkets have been sacked and replaced by body hire in a bid to cut labour costs.
[ Full Story » ]

British Union Secures Free Net Access
Britain’s largest trade union, UNISON, has become the first trade union in the world to offer free Internet access to its members.
[ Full Story » ]

Cab Charge Wars: SBS Workers Fight for Their Lives
SBS television and radio employees are taking action to win back cab charges for late shifts after they were withdrawn on the advice of accountants.
[ Full Story » ]

State Wage Case Smooth - Except for Brack
Last month’s federal wage case decision is set to flow through to NSW workers following broad agreement from trade unions and responsible employers -- apart from Garry Brack’s Employers’ Federation.
[ Full Story » ]

FOI Loopholes Could Leave Public Servants Exposed
The NSW Government has conceded that state Freedom of Information laws could allow people facing criminal charges to trace public servants involved in their case.
[ Full Story » ]

Drug Summit Misses Tokin’ Gesture
While the Drug Summit appears on course for some meaningful evolutionary reform, one idea close to Workers Online’s heart did not get a guernsey -- Amsterdam-style coffee shops.
[ Full Story » ]

Public Will Lose Again From Rail Sackings
Another 300 jobs lost on Sydney’s rail stations on top of the 600 cut over the last 12 months will lead to even lower levels of customer service and even greater lost revenue according to Australian Services Union.
[ Full Story » ]

Robin Hood Strikes Again
A collision off Guam has become the latest focus for the MUA's campaign against flag of convenience ships.
[ Full Story » ]

CPSU shows it cares…
Public sector workers have thrown their weight behind CARE Australia's Yugoslavia Refugee campaign.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Take Action on Timor, Stolen Generation
Unionists will this week be invited to participate in actions to support the Stolen Generation and independence plebiscite in East Timor.
[ Full Story » ]


Letters to the Editor
  • Faction Calls Miss Point

  • Don't Ignore the Class Divide

  • Timor: Look at the Map!

  • Songs of the Revolution Feedback

  • Editorial

    A Precarious Relationship

    A healthy state is a question of balance. A balance between economic activity and decent working conditions; between financial management and the provision of public services, between wealth and health.

    The rise of precarious forms of employment like labour hire, casual and sub-contracting work, highlights the dilemmas inherent in this balancing act.

    The Premier has recently linked the issue of regulation of precarious employment with business investment. In short, he won't accept industrial relations reform which harms investment.

    But, as a Labor leader, this is a difficult position as any industrial relations regulation, and any unionised activity, is in a theoretical sense (within a narrow economic framework) bad for investment.

    Replacing permanent, unionised labour, with precarious non-union workers is good for investment because it inevitably reduces labour costs: no pay claims, no demands for decent conditions, no limits on cost-cutting in the face of health and safety.

    Now, Carr can rightly argue that attracting investment creates jobs, which is good for the people of NSW. But he can't avoid the counter proposition that there are other indicators of a state's health that are just as valid.

    The question is where to draw the line. The unregulated spread of precarious employment might create more casual jobs, but it could also lead to social dislocation such as family breakdown and crime. The whole community ends up meeting these social costs in the form of law enforcement, demands for welfare and the implications of behavoural problems of children who never see their parents.

    If the Carr Government can't realise that some minimum standards for people working in labour hire firms and as sub-contractors is not part of this equation, then his relationship with the union movement, and the society at large, will itself become increasingly precarious.

    Peter Lewis, Editor


    Columns

    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Filfthy Luca's Nightmare On Wall Street Terry Teaches How To Hate Deirdre Mahoney on Women in Uniform Love is the Drug

     


    
    

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