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Issue No. 167 21 February 2003  

Scales of Injustice
The Cole Royal Commissionís final report will be handed to the Howard Government this week, although its public release will be strategically delayed for maximum political capital.


Interview: Agenda 2003
ACTU secretary Greg Combet looks at the year ahead and how a union movement can keep the focus on the workplace at a time of global crisis.

Peace: The Colour Purple
Local communities across Australia are taking stands against war by displaying purple banners. Jim Marr visits one.

Industrial: Long, Hot Summer
As Workers Online took its annual break, the world kept turning Ė at an increasingly alarming velocity.

Solidarity: Workers Against War
Joann Wypijewski reports on how union locals in the USA are fighting the hounds of war at home.

Security: Howard And The Hoodlums
With all the talk of terror, the Howard Governmentís Achilles heel is its tolerance of Flags of Convenience shipping , writes Rowan Cahill

International: Industrial Warfare
Scottish freight train drivers have already acted to disrupt the war effort in the UK with crews of four freight trains carrying war supplies to ports walking off the job, writes Andrew Casey

History: Unions and the Vietnam War
The Vietnam experience steered some unions towards social activism for the first time. Unions are today key players in the anti-war movement, writes Tony Duras.

Review: Eight Miles to Mowtown
Mark Hebblewhites looks at two summer movies that tap into different sounds of American culture - white boy rap and motown blues.

Poetry: Return To Sender
Resident bard Divd Peetz discovers that Elvis has become the latest shock recruit to the peace cause.

Satire: CIA Recruits New Intake of Future Enemies
CIA Director George Tenet announced today that the agency has begun recruiting future enemies for the year 2014.


 Cole Commission: The Rort Goes On

 Penalty Rates Under Attack

 Abbott Brushes Ripped Off Aussies

 Overworked Seamanís Painful Hangover

 Australia Snubs International Body

 Women Attracted to Unions

 Murdoch Hacks Dropping Like Flies

 Peace is Union Business

 Qantas Takes Big Stick to Cabin Crew

 Sheltered Workshop in Orange Squeeze

 Carr Govt Commits $13m To Safety

 Monk Puts IR in Test Tube

 Concreters Bury Six-Day Week

 Graincorp Boss in Cyber War

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Getting On with The Job
Premier Bob Carr chose Trades Hall as the venue to launch Labor's IR policy for the upcoming state election.

Justice in Bogota
Sydney lawyer Ian Latham knows how to pick them. Heís gone straight from the Cole Royal Commission to justice Colombian-style.

The Locker Room
Heart Of Darkness
There is a school of thought that there is, in fact, only one World Cup - and it doesnít involve cricket, writes Phil Doyle.

Danger Mouse
John Howard's politics have trapped him into supporting an unpopular war. He is in political trouble, Leonie Bronstein argues.

 This Means War
 Who Let The Troops Out?
 Wagga Wagga Calling
 Ode to Johnny
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Women Attracted to Unions

Australian women have more positive attitudes to trade unions than men, with just 13 per cent believing Australia would be better off without unions, according to new research commissioned by the Labor Council of NSW.

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:


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