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Issue No. 189 01 August 2003  

The Secret Life of Us
The fact that casual workers are too scared to come forward and testify about the need for job security seems to prove their basic point � no matter how long or how well you work, you can never feel safe in your job.


Interview: The New Deal
US union leader Amy Dean expands on her agenda to give unions a real political voice

Unions: In the Line of Hire
Unions have lobbied and negotiated in a bid to stem casualisation and insecurity. Now, Jim Marr, writes they are seeking protection through a formal Test Case.

Culture: Too Cool for the Collective?
Young people are amongst the most vulnerable in the workforce. So why aren't they joining the union, asks Carly Knowles

International: The Domino Effect
An internal struggle in the biggest and strongest industrial union in Germany IG Metall has had a devastating wave effect across not just that country, but also the rest of Europe, writes Andrew Casey.

Industrial: A Spanner in the Works
Max Ogden looks at the vexed issue of Works Councils and the differing views within the union movement to them.

National Focus: Gathering of the Tribes
Achieving a fairer society and a better working life for employees from across Australia will be key themes at the ACTU's triennial Congress meeting later this month reports Noel Hester.

History: The Welcome Nazi Tourist
Rowan Cahill looks at the role Australia's conservatives played in supporting facism in the days before World War II.

Bad Boss: Domm, Domm Turn Around
Frank Sartor might have shot through but Robert Domm still calls the IR shots at Sydney City which pretty much explains why the council is this month�s Bad Boss nominee.

Poetry: Just Move On.
Visiting bard Maurie Fairfield brightens up our page with a ditty about little white lies.

Review: Reality Bites
The workers, united, may never be defeated but if recent episodes of Channel 10 drama The Secret Life Of Us are to be believed, this is not necessarily a good thing, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Tough Women Draw Line at Sacking

 Witness Protection Urged on IRC

 Max Swings Axe at Safety

 Sick Twist in Drug Testing

 Sacked Mum Goes to the Top

 Cuts Sour ADB Birthday Bash

 Howard Enlists Russians for Military

 Vic Workcover Invests in Worker Misery

 Public Hole in Power Shortage

 Whistleblower Sacking Sparks Zoo Walkout

 Truckie With Conscience Wins Back Job

 Indigenous Labour honours Tobler

 Asbestos Blocks Liverpool Road Works

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
Fighting Words
Craig Emerson gave what could be the most spirited Labor spray in a decade to the NSW Labor Council this month. Here it is in all its venom.

Out of Their Class
Phil Bradley argues that Australia's education system should not be up for negotiation in the global trade talks.

The Locker Room
The ABC of Sport
Phil Doyle argues that the only way to end the corporate madness that is sport, is to give it all back to the ABC.

Locks, Stocks and Barrels
Union Aid Abroad's Peter Jennings updates on the situation in Burma, where the repression of democracy is going from bad to worse.

 Bullies in the Ranks
 It Is Still About The Members Isn't It
 Tom's Purpose
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Letters to the Editor

Tom's Purpose

Workers Online

Dear Sir,

"Our Purpose"

The common possession of a rich heritage of memories: also the actual agreement and desire to live together, and the will to preserve worthily the joint inheritance. To share the glories of the past and a common will in the present: to have done great deeds together and to desire to do more - these are the essential conditions of a people's being."

As always, I await in anticipation every Friday for the delivery of your publication Workers Online to arrive in my inbox , thereby enabling me to have my weekly fix of Industrial Activism, this enhancement of my otherwise mundane life ( see: Tom in the Manger issue 187), giving me a warm inner glow, something akin to the euphoria and or elation experienced in the initial effects after the excessive consumption of alcohol or other mind altering substances of personal choice.

My receipt of your Issue 187 created much more than my usual exhilaration, in fact, it created a myriad - nay a plethora of conflicting emotions, particularly on reading the almost wistful letter from Comrade Assistant National Secretary - ASU Greg Mclean, in his extolment as to the virtues of Sid Einfield and Greg�s own Grandfather, who was President of the Waverley Branch , in what could only be described as an eulogium articulated as a poignant literary presence and almost comparable with the pathos expressed by Oscar Wilde as he (Wilde) physically and spiritually rotted in Reading Gaol for the then heinous crime of Sodomy.

I must admit although some time ago I was informed of what could be described as an apparent dementia as to our previous Union business relationships by a Hastings Shire Councillor , Greg and I have had many interactions over quite a period of years, including many unprecedented invitations I obtained for Greg while visiting a TUC Conference in Blackpool , to meet with political party leaders then involved in the Northern Ireland Peace Talks , so with this regard to the past ,this is a facet of Greg that I had never been previously aware of being exposed to , and I must confess I was more than surprised at this revelation of sensitivity and attachment to the past , as I had always seen Comrade McLean as an efficient Contemporary political combatant , always participating within the machinations of ALP , and its inherent political intrigue , so to have such candour of sensitivity and attachment to past memories publicly exposed , this prose to me is as fresh as a spri!

ng shower and bring to mind the words of Wilde �With the last shower, sweeter perfume bring �in his poem, The Burden Of Itys , and perhaps even , in my mind , accommodating the context .

Greg also accurately asserts �we need more great Labor men and women�, an opinion that even the Liberal Government passionately promulgates at every opportune moment ; the least not being during question time in the House of Representatives as they parry with consummate ease the ill thought out questions hidden amongst the blether of the opposition benches, the intent of which in the words of the famous Jamaican reggae singer , Bob Marley as he paraphrased Proverbs 26:27;�And whosoever diggeth a pit, Lord, Shall fall in it - shall fall in it. Whosoever diggeth a pit? Shall bury in it - shall bury in it.�

So I too, not only join in the Amens to Gregs� intense observation: �we need more great Labour men and women� but I also include the ALP in this tribute as they too have fallen prey to their own beast of Political Correctness, a beast which they have embraced of recent years as a weapon of retribution to be savagely sool upon dissenters.

Again, the poetic language of Wilde expresses the duplicitous kisses of Caiaphas on this issue, far better that a mere literary philistine such as my self:

Yet each man kills the thing he loves from all let this be heard; some does it with a bitter look some with a flattering word; the coward does it with a kiss; the brave man with the sword.

Tom Collins


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