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Issue No. 185 04 July 2003  

A Recipe for Conflict
Without making any excuses, Tony Abbott�s hand wringing at this week�s airing of a secret video of picket line violence was a bit like watching Don King condemn boxing.


Interview: As They Say In The Bible ...
One the movement�s great characters, Public Service Association general secretary Maurie O�Sullivan, is calling it a day. He looks back on his career with Workers Online.

Industrial: Just Doing It
Sportswear giant, Nike, is the first company to sign off on an agreement that purports to protect Australian clothing workers, wherever they labour, writes Jim Marr.

Unions: Breaking Into the Boys Club
For a 23-year-old woman who has never worked in the trade, recruiting young construction apprentices into the union has its challenges, reports Carly Knowles.

Activists: Making the Hard Yards
Mal Cochrane came to the smoke as part of an Aboriginal avalanche that redefined the face of Rugby League. Today, he serves his community through the trade union movement.

Bad Boss: In the Pooh
What do you give a boss who makes his workers labour in raw sewage? A nomination for the Tonys.

Unions: National Focus
In the national wrap Noel Hester finds a Victorian Misso delo who is redistributing lucre from Eddie McGuire into workers� theatre, South Australian unions taking that Let�s Get Real stuff seriously, an American unionist fronts up at a distinguished �meeting of the brains� in Adelaide and a look at the line up for ACTU Congress.

Economics: Pop Will Eat Itself
Dick Bryan wonders if we can be insured against pop economists promising financial nirvana as well as financial market instability.

Technology: Dean for President
Paul Smith looks at how the internet is helping one Democrat candidate to the front of the primary pack

International: Rangoon Rumble
Union Aid Abroad's Marj O'Callaghan looks at Australia's weak response to developments in Burma.

Education: Blackboard Jungle
Lifelong learning shouldn�t mean cutting jobs, but that's exactly what the Carr Government is proposing, argues Tony Brown

Review: From Weakness to Strength
Labor Council crime-fighter Chris Christodoulou catches up with his boyhood hero, the Incredible Hulk

Poetry: Downsized
Resident bard David Peetz pens the song the Industrial Relations Commission needed to hear


 Aussie Workers Cradle-Snatched

 Morris McMahon Workers Say Thanks

 Violence: Emerson Fingers Abbott

 Cowboys Face Contracts Ban

 TUTA Rises From the Ashes

 Teased Teachers Fight Back

 Labor Fails TAFE Test

 Coke Called on to Stop the Rot

 Bridgestone Drops Doughnut on Workers

 AIRC Locked in Dark Ages

 Maternity Breakthrough in Hotels

 Labour Rights: Even Bush is Better!

 Long Winter for Seasonal Workers

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
Cleaning Up
Rabbi Laurie Coskey from San Diego adds her voice to the global campaign for just for cleaners in Westfield malls.

The Locker Room
The Name In The Game
In an age of the sportsperson as celebrity it seems that names are overtaking the games, writes Phil Doyle.

The Beach
Southern Thailand�s terrorist activities: facts or fiction asks HT Lee

 A Tribute to Brian Miller
 Orange Peel
 After the Accident
 Cuba - the Debate Continues
 Old Ted
 Greetings from Japan
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Aussie Workers Cradle-Snatched

By Carly Knowles

Australia is losing its skills-backbone as young people chase better maternity and childcare situations abroad.

Over 40,000 people left Australian shores for good last year, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward told an ACTU forum on childcare this week. She warns this figure is going to increase, due to the expected global downturn in the labour force in 2005-07.

As the baby boomers retire and the labour force shrinks, "workers will become extremely sought after commodities and companies will be forced to create and offer workplaces that are both attractive and responsive to employees' needs."

According to ACTU President Sharan Burrows, The finding that 174,500 Australian children missed out on childcare last year shows that childcare is a need not being met for Australian families.

Jo-anne Schofield, the LHMU's National Assistant Secretary says this is because "there are just not enough trained child care professionals."

The LHMU is calling for a significant increase to the award so that workers will be attracted to the profession and to "properly recompense this important group of workers".

Lowenna Dunkerley, who is soon to complete her diploma in childcare, is considering retraining as a teacher because "it pays better and has better holidays". She's not keen on up to three years more study at university, but she thinks it's probably worth it.

"The pay sucks. Everyone thinks so", she says. "It's really hard work. You're full on for nine hours a day, you're responsible for between five and 10 children, you change nappies and have to keep a constant eye on them."

Schofield says, "Unfortunately there is plenty of evidence that people qualify to work in the child care sector but never work as carers because of the low wages".

"Child care centres are crying out for appropriately trained workers but these workers are nowhere to be found. We can only expand child care services if we are prepared to train and properly pay all the workers needed in these centres."

Goward says childcare services are essential if we want to keep Australian workers in Australia. She says "The question is not what will it cost, it's what will happen if we don't have it.

"Companies or indeed countries that persist in not performing for working parents will do so at their peril".

According to ACTU figures, Australia's government expenditure on childcare is 0.1 per cent of GDP, ranking 26th out of 28 OECD countries. The highest expenditure is in Denmark where 2.1 per cent of GDP is spent with the OECD average at 0.6 per cent.


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