||Issue No. 169||07 March 2003|
Re-considering The Accord
Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Interview: League of Nations
Industrial: 20/20 Hindsight
Organising: On The Buses
Unions: National Focus
History: The Banner Room
International: The Slaughter Continues
Legal: A Legal Case For War?
Culture: Singing For The People
Review: The Hours
Poetry: I Wanna Bomb Saddam
Satire: Diuretic Makes Warne's Excuses Look Thin
The Locker Room
Strangers in the House
Nursing Home Concerns
NSW Libs Madder Than The Monk
News of the radical policy came as the Coalition vowed to scrap an industry-based program to cut workplace accidents and funnel the money into chasing compo fraud.
According to reports in the Daily Telegraph the Coalition policy would:
- prevent union representation in workplaces where less than 50 per cent of workers were members.
- allow non-union agreements to be approved without scrutiny of the Industrial Relations Commission through a new Enterprise Agreements Commission
- Create an anti-union police force, modelled on the federal government's Employment Advocate.
Labor Council secretary John Robertson says the laws would become a tool for employers to drive unions out of the workplace by forcing 'union recognition ballots' for every workplace agreement.
He says the Enterprise Agreement commission appears to be modelled on the 1991 NSW laws which employers and unions agreed was unwieldy and unworkable.
"The effect of this proposal would be to force a ballot on whether unions should play a role in each agreement - a process that employers would exploit to keep unions out and drive wages down," Robertson says. "If anything, this policy is more extreme than the Reith-Abbott federal model.
Policy an Insult
Robertson says the Coalition policy is an insult to NSW workers and the responsible trade union movement that works so hard to promote the interests of this State.
"John Brogden seems to have a very short memory - just three years ago we were celebrating the best Olympics ever, delivered without a hitch by a unionised workforce," Robertson says.
"Now the Coalition wants to replace this successful model of co-operative labour relations with a US-style system predicated on conflict and division."
"Like the USA, we run the risk of creating a system weighted in favour of the employer where the rights of all workers - whether union or non-union come second."
And in a bizarre section of the Liberals' policy, employer associations also cop it, with an impossible barrier to entry into any non-union agreement.
According to a release from Gallacher, employer associations appear to require a majority vote of employees before they can take part in the negotiations. "This shows the policy is either ill-conceived or loopy," Robertson says.
Safety Cuts Will Cost Lives
Meanwhile, the Labor Council has panned a Coalition plan to scrap the WorkCover Assist program would have a devastating effect on occupational health and safety across the State.
"This program, which provides assistance to both employer organizations and unions, has already trained more than 8,000 people to create safer working environments," Robertson says.
"To scrap the program and replace it with money to investigate workers compensation fraud is akin to scrapping cancer research to invest in better morgues.
"Michael Gallagher talks about the Liberals representing a light at the end of the WorkCover tunnel. On evidence to date, that light is an oncoming train for workers."
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|