||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
Kits Strike Terror into Govt
Australia Post management was looking at another backflip over the kits after hours of negotiations with the CEPU Post and Telegraph branch, this week, averted threatened mail disruptions across NSW.
Government promised to count returned terrorism kits after anti-war activists organised a "return to sender" protest but conflicting instructions to postal workers saw some put aside, others returned to Canberra, and an increasing number destroyed.
"Some workers were throwing them in the bin as unadressed junk mail while others were putting them in the Canberra mail as part of the protest," CEPU branch secretary Jim Metcher revealed.
Then, suddenly, the Attorney General's department revealed it had given instructions for them to be destroyed because, it alleged, some had been contaminated with an unidenfied white powder.
That was the cue for postal workers to move, threatening to ban collections from street boxes on health and safety grounds.
"Obviously the Government wanted to play down the numbers but we didn't get into that game," Metcher said. "They didn't inform the union or workers of the danger so we could only take Senator Ellison at his word. This was a health and safety issue for us, nothing more or less."
Metcher said postal workers had reported tens of thousand or returns. The Canberra Mail Centre, he said, had been swamped.
But Australians will never know how many of their number joined the protest, despite Government assurances to the contrary. Australia Post first justified the destruction of returned kits on the basis of "storage problems", then the white powder line materialised.
Now it is arguing privacy restrictions prevent it giving the number of returns to either the Government or Senate Estimates. Metcher refused to comment on claims, made in Parliament, that someone had leant on the corporation.
Workers Fly Peace Flag
Meanwhile, NSW workers are gearing up for March 14. Public transport workers will wear badges, building workers will hold stop work meetings and schools will conduct peace assemblies as part of coordinated action under the 'Unions Work for Peace' Banner.
The day has been earmarked to send a public message of opposition to John Howard's handling of the war and is part of a series of events in the lead-up to the next major peace rally on Palm Sunday.
The Labor Council's Peace Committee has produced badges, posters and fliers for the day, all available through our No War on Iraq '' campaign page
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