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Issue No. 182 13 June 2003  

The Dead Couple
The message from the ACTU’s Future of Work research is that the two theoretical frameworks for understanding work in the 20th century - ‘Harvester Man’ and ‘TINA’ are both dead.


History: Nest of Traitors
Rowan Cahill uncovers a ripping yarn that could redefine the way we look at Australian involvement in World War II.

Interview: A Nation of Hope
Former PM Bob Hawke bemoans the demise of industrial relations but takes heart from the prospect of peace in the Middle East

Unions: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on a soap star rebellion, Howard’s plans to renuclearise South Australia, more historical atrocities in the north, the redundancy test case plus more in the monthly national wrap.

Safety: The Shocking Truth
It’s every power worker’s worst nightmare – and it happened to Adrian Ware. In a flash of voltage, his life changed forever, as Jim Marr reports.

Tribute: A Comrade Departed
From Prime Ministers to wharfies, the labour movement paid tribute to Tas Bull this week. Jim Marr was among them.

History: Working Bees
Neale Towart looks at a group of workers who got sacked so their boss could keep making the Bomb.

Education: The Big Picture
The NTEU’s Dr Mike Donaldson and Tony Brown join all the dots in the current debate around higher eduction.

International: Static Labour
Ray Marcelo argues there’s another side to the recent furore over Telstra’s use of cheap Indian IT contractors.

Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Frank Stilwell argues that Peter Costello’s latest budget plumbs fiscal policy to new depths.

Technology: Google and Campaigning
Labourstart’s Eric Lee argues the latest weapon for campaigning could be the humble search engine.

Review: Secretary With A Difference
Looking for a new job can be hard enough, without having to worry about sadomasochistic bosses and the threat of being spanked for forgetting to cross your ‘t’s, says Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Minimale
The Labor Party leadership is in the news again, inspiring our resident bard David Peetz to song

Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
John Howard released a controversial policy statement today, arguing that the Senate be abolished in favour of a device measuring noise from the gallery of the House of Representatives.


 Air NZ Grounds Mums and Kids

 Unions to End Casual Affair

 Carr Faces Acid On Job Security

 Abbott Prescribes Dole for Mother of Six

 Cole Batting Zero from Thirty Two

 Labor Insider Makes Mess

 Dust Busters – MUA Sails into Allianz Fight

 Security Forces Come Out Firing

 Women’s Centre Faces Ideological Jihad

 Varsity Casuals Win Wage Increase

 Fortress NSW Protects BHP Workers

 Pharmacists Seek Jobs Medicine

 Iranian Textile Workers Sewn Up

 Unique Union –Uni Partnership

 Activists Notebook


It’s Our Party
Long time union watcher Nicholas Way looks at the changing dynamics between the industrial and political wings of the labour movement.

The Soapbox
Grass Roots
In his Maiden Speech, new MP Tony Burke argues that the ALP’s union links are nothing to be ashamed of.

Opinion Forming Down Under
Evan Jones condemns the mainstream’s media coverage of the War on Iraq and the damage it is doing to our national psyche.

The Locker Room
Location, Re-Location!
It’s all fun and games until someone loses a club, writes Phil Doyle

 Costa Must Be Crazy
 Saharwi Struggle
 Vinegar Hill
 Tom's Toons
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Unions to End Casual Affair

The ACTU has staked out its agenda to address the collapse in secure employment, identified in ground-breaking research showing that one third of the workforce will be casual by 2010.

Legal triggers for casuals to win permanency, a new Work Family Test case and tax incentives for the low-paid are key planks in the platform ACTU secretary Greg Combet will take to this year’s ACTU Congress.

Combet outlined the agenda while releasing 'The Future of Work' at conference in Sydney this week, a study by the University of Sydney's acirrt charting the 'fragmentation' of the Australian workforce.

"The key message from this research is that the benefits of economic growth have not been shared fairly," Combet said.

"The fact is that Australia's economic prosperity in recent years has been built on the back of inequality and the intensification of work. Economic risk has been shifted directly onto employees through casualisation, contracting and agency employment arrangements."

Combet committed the ACTU to articulating a core set of values based on fairness to counter the Howard Government's deferral to competition and market forces.

These values would underpin four policy initiatives:

- a new minimum award standard giving casual workers the right to become permanent after six months services. Such as standard would include protections against employers shedding casuals approaching the threshold.

- a Work and Family Test Case, to be lodged in the AIRC in the next fortnight, extending unpaid maternity leave from one to two years and enshrine a right to negotiate for flexible working hours.

- improving living standards for low income households through the use of tax credits

- And enshrining collective bargaining rights in legislation, consistent with Australia's international obligations under the ILO Conventions.

"These reforms are not about unions turning back the clock," Combet says. "What we want are better standards that get better outcomes for working people who have seen their secure disappear in recent years."

Fragmented Lives

Lead researcher John Buchanan told the conference a striking statistic was that one seven per cent of workers now worked the standard Monday to Friday, nine to five working week.

Buchanan's research paints a bleak portrait of job security - and the attitudes of workers towards those changes.

Key trends highlighted in the report include:

- increasing wage inequality - with most income earners experiencing a real decrease in wages in the 1990s.

- increases in work intensification, with workers across a range of industries reporting they no longer have the time to do their jobs properly

- and a massive shift to casual employment, more than half of whom have been in the same job more than one year.

Buchanan advocated broader initiatives than the ACTU is currently suggesting including providing leave entitlements to all workers, regardless of their formal employment status.


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