||Issue No. 189||01 August 2003|
The Secret Life of Us
Interview: The New Deal
Unions: In the Line of Hire
Culture: Too Cool for the Collective?
International: The Domino Effect
Industrial: A Spanner in the Works
National Focus: Gathering of the Tribes
History: The Welcome Nazi Tourist
Bad Boss: Domm, Domm Turn Around
Poetry: Just Move On.
Review: Reality Bites
Tough Women Draw Line at Sacking
Witness Protection Urged on IRC
Howard Enlists Russians for Military
Vic Workcover Invests in Worker Misery
Whistleblower Sacking Sparks Zoo Walkout
Truckie With Conscience Wins Back Job
Indigenous Labour honours Tobler
Asbestos Blocks Liverpool Road Works
The Locker Room
It Is Still About The Members Isn't It
Labor Council of NSW
The Secret Life of Us
In an era where more workers are employed at the day to day whim of an employer, or increasingly, a labour hire company the notion of stepping up and telling the world what's going on at work has never been as intimidating.
As someone whose job is to get union stories covered in the media, I know there is a real thirst and demand for 'real workers' to illustrate stories about the modern workplace.
But it's becoming a big ask. To speak out is increasingly seen not as an act of principle, but an act of stupidity.
That's because any worker who does speak out knows they will be branded a trouble-maker, have their hours cut back or simply taken off the roster.
All of which make young women like Megan Colman and Rachel Hodges, who have taken strike action in support of their manager who was sacked for refusing to cut staff numbers, all the more courageous.
As for the young zoo worker who raised issues of management impropriety while on probation, she should be being congratulated rather than looking for another job.
Understandably though, these young women are the exceptions that prove the rule.
At a time when we routinely send troops overseas in the name of freedom, we seem to have surrendered our voices of dissent in the workplace.
While individuals, like bank manager Joy Buckland, have won in the courts after being disciplined for talking to the media, a system where individuals have to take further action to assert their rights is hardly an option.
The end point must be legally enforceable rights to speak up on workplace issues, fundamental rights that override any confidentiality clauses in employment contracts, recognising that freedom of speech can't be traded away.
But a great starting point would be a strong statement from the NSW Industrial Relations Commission that casual workers who give evidence in the Secure Employment Test case will do so knowing they are safe from retribution.
If it doesn't, the prospect of getting a real picture of the impact of economic policies on our working lives will remain seriously diminished and with it working lives of decent families will remain a secret battle.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|
© 1999-2002 Workers Online