||Issue No. 167||21 February 2003|
Scales of Injustice
Interview: Agenda 2003
Peace: The Colour Purple
Industrial: Long, Hot Summer
Solidarity: Workers Against War
Security: Howard And The Hoodlums
International: Industrial Warfare
History: Unions and the Vietnam War
Review: Eight Miles to Mowtown
Poetry: Return To Sender
Satire: CIA Recruits New Intake of Future Enemies
The Locker Room
Who Let The Troops Out?
Wagga Wagga Calling
Ode to Johnny
Women Attracted to Unions
The nationwide survey of 1,032 workers conducted by ACIRRT found women more receptive to unions than men, 20 per cent of whom believed Australia would be better off if there was no organised labour.
Labor Council secretary John Robertson says the findings confirm that unions have successfully softened their image form the days when they were synonymous with blue-collar blokes.
"Today's unions have strong-holds in female-dominated areas like nursing, teaching and child care where working women can see first-hand the benefits of membership," Robertson says.
"Women are also more likely to be working in casual and part-time jobs, areas where unions are working hard to create decent protections."
The Labor Council research, the fifth in a series of studies since 1996, shows a continuing improvement in attitudes to trade unions since the Howard Government came to power:
- 17 per cent of workers agreed 'Australia would be better off without unions' compared with 25 per cent in 1996.
- Only 29 per cent agreed that 'unions in Australia don't look after their members', compared with 43 per cent in 1996.
- 50 per cent of respondents said they would rather be in a union, if free to choose (compared with 48 per cent in 1996)
- while attitudes to management power were stable
Robertson says the study is a useful gauge for testing the progress unions were making in rebuilding its base after big drops in membership numbers during the Accord period.
"We have now experienced growth for two consecutive years and these figures confirm that public attitudes towards unions are turning around," he says.
World's Women March for Mat Leave
Meanwhile, 300 women delegates from the ICFTU World Women's Conference (Melbourne, 18-21 February) demonstrated in favour of a government-legislated paid maternity leave scheme for all Australian working women in Melbourne today.
A crowd holding up banners showing 120 countries where workers already enjoy universal paid maternity leave protection heard speakers from around the world argue that Australia is lagging behind the international community in its treatment of women workers.
Kaye Carberry, Assistant General Secretary of the UK's Trades Union Congress told delegates that the UK is soon to move to six months paid leave, and two weeks paid paternity leave.
Daysi Montero D'Oleo from the Dominican Republic and Chair of the Women's Committee of ICFTU's ORIT (regional organization for the Americas) told how her own country enjoyed 12 weeks guaranteed paid maternity leave for all working women.
Tandiwe Munyani, Chair of the ICFTU's Youth Committee, told the crowd that many African nations were ahead of Australia in maternity protection rights, including her own country of Zimbabwe with 12 weeks guaranteed paid maternity leave.
Australia is the only developed nation apart from the USA without a universal paid maternity leave system. Two-thirds of Australian working women have no paid maternity leave rights.
In the United States, two-thirds of the nearly 50 million working women are mothers of young children, but not one woman in the United States is entitled to paid maternity leave under federal law said AFL-CIO Vice President (USA), Linda Chavez-Thompson
We will continue to struggle until every sister in every country in the world has got the right to work, the right to decent work, the right to maternity protection and the right to paid maternity leave, concluded Helen Creed, Chair of the ICFTU Women's Committee and Chair of the world women's conference entitled "Unions for Women, Women for Unions".
Speeches at Paid Maternity Leave Rally: http://www.icftu.org/
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