by Phil Doyle
John Howard showed this week that his belief in social Darwinism is no idle boast as he declared that marriage was essentially about the "survival of the species".
It is important in this day and age that our leaders illustrate the moral grounds on which our institutions stand. In Howard's case he has shown that the primary role of marriage is about producing offspring. None of this namby-pamby nonsense about love, happiness or respect from Dear Leader Howard. Nope, after the altar it's off to the conjugating room to pump out a few healthy units of factory fodder. Who said romance was dead? Just lie back and think of Australia.
Once this has been achieved then the family can invest in other morally enlightening pursuits, such as nepotism. Howard showed his commitment to this ideal by ensuring that his own species survival unit (known to the rest of us as his daughter) received a wage courtesy of Dad's old law firm. Well, he had to do something with her before he could marry her off to a member of the landed gentry. Also, if you are on first name terms with the emperor, you have the opportunity to foist your other species survival unit (also known as his son) onto George Bush's doomed 2004 Presidential election campaign.
No doubt both are highly capable people who were the best choice for the job, that there wasn't a hint of favouritism and that pigs fly overhead.
Of course John is merely upholding the sanctity of marriage - especially when he bails out his brother's company. If another business faces the same difficulties in meeting their employee's entitlements well it's just their own fault that they're not related to the sanctity of the Howard marriage.
And all this sanctity doesn't end there, in fact the whole shebang is downright sanctimonious. Family man Howard showed how in touch he is with the average Australian family by letting us all know that his government has the work/family mix "about right". This will gladden the hearts of many whose sanctity of marriage is driven spare by trying to balance the demands of work, family, affordable childcare, maternity leave and managing the household budget to hear that things are, apparently, "about right".
Working longer for less and being denied the opportunity to actually have a life are all good for us, according to John Dubya Howard.
Another great way Howard has found to ensure the survival of the species is to beat up on cripples. What a better way to celebrate the sanctity of marriage than to penalise people if they've produced one that takes a bit more looking after. No doubt the ongoing review of carers' allowances will, in time, bring about John's dream of a muscular Aryan race that will conquer morally degenerate societies like New Zealand and South Australia. The man is truly a visionary.
No doubt Howard also adheres to Jonathan Swift's modest proposal that the poor support themselves by selling their children as food.
It is a bit disturbing that someone who lived at home with his mum until he was 30 would put themselves in a position to offer relationship advice to anyone.
Meanwhile the only same sex relationship that really does threaten the survival of the species is that between George W. Bush and our very own Tool of the Week, John Howard.
MUA secretary, Paddy Crumlin, raised the prospect when he said the unanimous High Court decision, bringing Bahamas-flagged CSL vessels Stadacona and Yarra under AIRC jurisdiction, could be extended into other crucial areas.
"We couldn't have written the decision better ourselves," Crumlin said. "The High Court has gone a lot further than the Commission decision being contested by the company and the Federal Government.
"The High Court has ruled that ships trading in Australia are subject to Australian law, even those on international voyages.
"We now have jurisdiction over labour and the door is open to seek jurisdiction over other areas."
Crumlin said Australian occupational health and safety, superannuation and workers compensation regimes would be natural flow-ons from yesterday's decision.
If the principle of Australian jurisdiction holds, there will also be problems with special permits issued by Transport Minister, John Anderson, to allow foreign-registered shippers to circumvent immigration procedures.
At that point, Crumlin says, most of the advantages of Flag of Convenience traders - cheap labour and non-compliance with domestic rules and regulations - will have been lost.
"Is someone going to persevere with employing foreign crews in that situation?" he asked.
Yesterday, the High Court ruled that irrespective of flag, crew nationality, or which country a shipping company is based in, ships engaged on Australia's coastal trade are subject to AIRC jurisdiction.
The battle over the flagging out of CSL vessels has raged since the Australian crew of the Yarra barricaded themselves on board the bulk carrier at Port Pirie, last May.
Somewhat apologetically, the employer said Government support for flag of convenience shipping had left it with no alternative but to dump Australian seamen, replace them with cut-rate Ukrainians, and move registration off-shore.
Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott, and Transport Minister Anderson both backed the Canadian ship owners.
Since their Government came to office in 1996 and began issuing permits to foreign operators, the number of Australian vessels on the coastal trade has plummeted from 90 to less than 50.
Maritime Unions sought to rope the Stadacona and Yarra into Australian labour jurisdiction in the AIRC. They won their case last September but CSL, supported by the Federal Government, appealed to the High Court.
MUA lawyer Bill McNally said employment law, relating to foreign ships on the Australian coast, had been settled "once and for all" by the High Court.
"The extraordinary thing is that the Australian Government chose to support foreign ship owners over Australian workers," McNally said.
Crumlin called on the Transport Minister and senior departmental officials to rethink their maritime policy in light of the High Court ruling.
ACTU president Sharan Burrow has revealed that the ACTU has been providing the US Labour Department with information about the situation for Australian workers via the peak US union body the AFL-CIO.
The issue of labour rights is critical because the US Congress has passed laws requiring that labour standards be incorporated in all trade agreements.
Burrow says Australia's problem is that with no legal guarantee for collective bargaining, Australia will have real difficult meeting this legal threshold.
"We have been working through the AFL_CIO to give the US Government an understanding of Australia's labour laws," Burrow says. "We have been doing this because it is our view that our government has not been giving the US the full story."
"There is no question that people are shocked when you tell them that Australian labour laws do not guarantee collective bargaining. In the context of the bilateral trade talks it means we are really in the weaker position when it comes to labour rights."
While the ACTU is opposing a raft of aspects of the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, including limits to the pharmaceutical benefits scheme and bans on local content in cultural industries, Burrow says there is support for trade and investment based on decent standards.
Burrow also warned that the US Congress would give the trade deal far greater scrutiny than the Australian Parliament.
"It's a sad day when Bush Administration will have a debate on the trade agreement with Australia debated in its Congress, but Australia will have one minister to sign off with no parliamentary scrutiny," she says.
Burrow will brief the media on the trade talks with senior AFL-CIO official Linda Chavez-Thompson in the lead-in to the upcoming ACTU Congress.
While the Free Trade-Fair Trade debate was contentious at the 2000 Congress and hotly debated at the following ALP National Conference, Burrow says the debate has moved on.
"There is general acceptance within the broad labour movement now that labour standards, along with human rights and environmental safeguards, need to be a part of all trade agreements.
"What has changed is that we are now dealing with an array of bilateral treaties, as well as the continuing multilateral trade agreement through the Doha Round of trade talks," Burrow says.
Significantly, NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson says he would be inclined to back a policy that placed worker rights at the centre of trade negotiations.
At the last Congress, Robertson's predecessor Michael Costa opposed the 'Fair Trade' agenda pushed by the AMWU's Doug Cameron and other left unions.
"Forcing labour standards into trade agreements is one way to give Australian workers a fighting chance in a global economy," Robertson says.
"It's important that unions unite on this issue and really put the acid on the Howard Government to stand up for Australian workers."
Click here to read the full trade policy: http://www.actu.asn.au/congress2003/draftpolicies/tradepolicy.html
CFMEU secretary, Andrew Ferguson, confirmed workers on a Milson’s Pt housing development would consider direct action to force the hand of Platino Properties which is refusing to pay a development levy, earkmarked for community projects.
"Our members have voted that the developer resolve the issue with council or face the prospect of industrial disputation," Ferguson said.
"Our union believes this refusal to pay is part of a broader campaign by the corporate sector to not pay Section 94 levies. Property developers are making mega profits and need to make appropriate contributions to maintain and improve community facilities and services."
The stance was endorsed by Holdroyd mayor, Malcolm Tulloch, who said local government support for libraries, childcare centres, youth and sporting facilities, was entirely dependent on development levies.
"These things aren't paid for by rates, they come out of development levies. Developers hate it because they don't want to make contributions to local communities," said Tulloch, also a CFMEU delegate.
Platino Properties hit the headlines last week with its refusal to pay the $815,000 levy, announcing it would challenge North Sydney Council's right to make the charge in the Land and Environment Court.
While it is not unusual for developers to contest the size of community levies, the Platino refusal breaks new ground and comes as state government is reviewing developer contributions.
The charges are generally levied as part of the development consent process with North Sydney having earmarked funds for the purchase and development of open space areas, and improvements to sporting and community facilities.
The charge at issue has been levied on a Milson's Pt redevelopment that will turn a commercial site into 75 luxury apartments. Platino, last year, sold one penthouse off the plan for nearly $3 million.
The CFMEU stance carries overtones of the Green Bans, placed on a range of urban sites under the 1970s leadership of Jack Mundey. Condemned by businessmen and politicians of the era, the Green Bans are now widely credited with saving much of Sydney's heritage, including the historic Rocks area.
Senior Deputy President Cartwright, appointed to the bench by former Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith, is the first IRC Commissioner in Australian history to have been found guilty of discriminating against tens of thousands of workers on the basis of their union membership.
Unions are considering appeals against his recent decision to refuse certification to a consent agreement between the AWU, AMWU and Unilever, over objections to clauses providing right of entry to union officials and imposing conditions on the use of labour hire.
Cartwright found the clauses did not relate to the relationship between employer and employees. He has subsequently used his own decision to knock back other agreements.
Announcing a meeting with affiliates to consider appeals against the Cartwright rulings, Labor Council secretary John Robertson argued right of entry and labour hire both had "direct bearings" on employment relationships.
"This is a bloke who came to the Commission with a track record and was appointed by Peter Reith or Tony Abbott," Robertson said.
"Now, it appears, the puppet is dancing to the pupeteer's tune."
Cartwright was one of a number of employer activists appointed to the IRC in the lead-up to the last general election in a move widely interpreted as an attempt to stack the bench.
He had built a strong anti-union reputation in HR roles at Rio Tinto and Telstra.
Within six months of being appointed Telstra's IR chief, he was pictured in the press with his boot on a stack of negotiated awards and agreements, announcing his intention to get rid of them.
Under his stewardship, Telstra led the country in seizing on changes to the Workplace Relations Act designed to sideline unions and cut wages and conditions. It sacked 10,000 Australians, championed the use of AWAs, and led the corporate charge to contracting out.
When Australia's largest company announced 10,000 job losses, Cartwright instructed managers that staff who had opted for AWAs over union agreements should receive preferential treatment.
That move led to the High Court finding the company had discrimated against 42,000 employees, on the basis of union membership, and ordering payment of $76,000.
The decision sparked calls for Cartwright to resign from the IRC, and lawyer predictions that his rulings could be appealed on the ground of perceived bias.
Current Workplace Relations Minister, Abbott, rejected the calls, expressing confidence in Cartwright's ability to do the job.
The 170 workers who manufacture bank notes at Craigieburn, north of Melbourne, took exception to more than what they have dubbed the "FiFo principle", alleging intimidation and harrassment had become routine management practice.
Affidavits, going to company attitudes, allege one representative told underlings "I bash people up with my brains until they break", and that another had claimed, approvingly, that Eskimos disposed of their elderly by cutting a hole in the ice and "putting them under".
AMWU Printing Division secretary, Steve Walsh, said the possibility of further action would "depend entirely" on whether or not Note Printing Australia addressed "serious" health and safety matters at issue.
"An independent consultant, employed by the company, found that management had caused significant distress and anxiety amongst many of the staff by using abusive language and inappropriate behaviour," Walsh said.
"These people are supposed to be managing change but what they have delivered is bullying and harrasment.
"Our people are prepared to work in a constructive manner but there are limits. We won't put up with this sort of behaviour."
Note Printing Australia is a Reserve Bank subsidiary, responsible for printing the nation's currency. It has slashed its workforce by more than 600 since the introduction of plastic banknotes.
This week's stoppage was the first in 17 years, reflecting what, Wash said, had traditionally been a positive relationship between company and workers.
He called on board members to involve themselves in the issue in a bid to restore harmony to the site.
"All our members want to do is get on with their jobs, but in an environment free from management bullying and harrassment," he said.
The unions have foreshadowed a ‘summer of discontent’ for rail passengers if Costa does not pull his chief bureaucrat Vince Graham into line and direct him to work with unions as he prepares a restructure that threatens 600 jobs.
They are furious that Graham has released details of the proposed merger of State Rail Authority with the Rail Infrastructure Corporation direct to the media prior to presenting them to unions, in direct breach of undertakings Costa made when taking over as Transport Minister.
Rail Tram and Bus Union state secretary Nick Lewocki says unions are witnessing a 'softening-up period' where he is floating the need for major job cuts through the media.
"This is very destablising," Lewocki says. "This industry has been pulled apart that many times it's a joke. Workers don't know what the future is and they ring the union and we can't tell them because we are not being told what's going on. We demand that the Minister pull this guy into line."
Professional staff are also concerned, APESMA's Phil Marchionni saying his members feel the rail industry has become a 'political football'.
"The men and women employed in the NSW Rail family labour stoically to provide a high level of service," Marchionni says. "Too often they are let down by inadequate funding, frequent restructuring and ill-informed commentary.
Australian Services Union president Sally McManus, responsible for station staff says her members are yet to be convinced that Vince Graham is prepared to work with the unions in a truly consultative manner.
"His actions to date have demonstrated a lack of preparedness to consult Unions with vital information on restructure working parties," McManus says. "Six hundred jobs are at stake.":
"The Minister needs to understand that if there is not proper consultation, the unions may be left with no option other than to pursue our collective interests.
"If this occurs, NSW rail users might find themselves facing a long hot summer of discontent if their train services are disrupted by our industrial action/"
NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson has called for an urgent meeting with the Minister. "All I know is that if the Minister was in his former position he would expect nothing less than a Minister of a Labor Government committing to consult with the unions."
"That's the long lunch on hold for a few weeks," Flight Attendants Association secretary, Johanna Brem, quipped after the IRC limited the drug and alcohol testing trial to the company's 700 "senior executives".
The compromise came after workers reacted angrily to a Qantas plan to random test staff for alcohol, stimulants, depressants and hallucinogens, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
At a series of mass rallies, Qantas union members rejected the plan as an unwarranted invasion of privacy, arguing the company had no right to know what medicines they took if their work quality was unaffected.
They resolved not to participate in the company's testing program, and to support any staff member disciplined as a result.
In the space of a fortnight, thousands signed a petition urging a re-think on the company.
The IRC recommended that the trial be restricted to non-union members, whilst worker and management representatives attempt to thrash out agreed procedures.
Talks have been scheduled for Wednesday with the parties to report back to the Commission on Friday.
ACTU Senior Industrial Officer Richard Watts hailed the IRC recommendation as "a common sense approach to a controversial issue" that would avoid immediate confrontation.
After a week of media attention centring on the quality and disposal of Sydney's water supplies, Australian Services Union president Sally McManus put Sartor on notice any moves to total or partial privatisation will be vigorously opposed.
"Our position is no more job losses. No selling off our essential services," McManus says. "No more contracting out - Sydney Water work should be done by Sydney Water workers.
"It has been bad government policy over many years that has caused the current problems."
McManus made the comments as ASU and AMWU this week members signed off on a new enterprise agreement that delivers a five per cent pay rise, union delegate rights and a commitment to better union consultation.
While they were voting, electricians were walking off the job, claiming that contracting out of maintenance jobs had lefts insufficient workers to ensure the safe operation of Sydney Water facilities.
The workers were also angry that Sydney Water management has eliminated the $1,98 per day 'Foul Air Allowance at the Bondi Sewage Plant, paid in recognition of the stench workers must endure there.
By week's end, the workers had returned to the job after a hearing in the NSW industrial Relations Commission, after Sydney Water agreed to review the stench at Bondi and deal with the safety grievances.
All of which adds up to some early challenges for Sartor, the former Lord Mayor of Sydney fast-tracked onto the front-bench by Premier Bob Carr after the March state election.
Emphasising the link between workplace stress and death, the UK Hazards initiated Worked to Death site reveals that in Japan instances of karoshi are so common they have named it and made it a government compensated occupational disease.
But the Worked to Death campaign webpage shows that karoshi is a global phenomenon.
Changing work practices, the demise of job security, escalating demands, and violence and bullying in the workplace are all leading to tired and stressed out employees prone to heart attacks, strokes, disease and depression and more likely to take their own lives.
UK research shows that employees exposed to stress for at least half their working lives are 25 percent more likely to die from a heart attack and have 50 percent greater odds of suffering a fatal stroke. The research conducted by the UK's Trade Union Congress exposes stress as Britain's number one health hazard.
In Australia one of the leading causes of stress is overwork and incidences of the condition are on the rise. According to Australian research:
* The ACTU says Australia has the second longest working hours in the OECD and, on current trends, will soon have the longest. It says 31% of Australian employees now work hours that would be illegal in Europe, adding that we now have one of the worst records in the world.
* Teachers are one of the most overworked of all professions, with escalating demands now reaching titanic proportions. A new survey by the Australian Psychological Society says about 30% of university academic staff responding to its survey said they were working more than 55 hours a week, more than 11 hours per day. Yet a study of work related stress in Japan showed men working 11 hours were two and a half times more likely to suffer a heart attack than those working an eight hour day.
* NSW WorkCover says cases of occupational stress jumped 21% between 1999/2000 and 2000/2001, with female incidences increasing at a faster rate than males.
* Meanwhile, a national health survey from the Australian Bureau of Statistics says about 11.2 percent of the workforce is taking an average of three days sick leave each fortnight in an attempt to cope with stress levels.
NSW Labor Council's occupational health and safety watchdog Mary Yaager says the research shows stress is a major problem.
"Australian employers are literally working their staff to death, with on the job stress, violence and fatigue edging their way up to become major causes of workplace fatalities.
"Stress and depression are caused by people not being able to balance their work and family lives, by workplace violence, long hours, a lack of fulfilment and fatigue.
"Escalating demands as a result of downsizing without taking the wellbeing of employees into account mean they have been forced to take on more and more responsibilities with less and less support.
"This is just one way the changing labour market is favouring practices that contribute to rising employee stress levels.
"Employers in the short-term might be maximising profits but this situation is not sustainable and unfortunately it is the workers that are paying the deadly price," Mrs Yaager says.
ACTU secretary Greg Combet made the formal proposal to Transport Minister, John Anderson, this week, after it was revealed Canberra would pocket more than $100 million from the $10 levy it imposed on air travellers.
Under current arrangements, Government stands to make between $100 million and $260 million from the Ansett ticket levy, scrapped last month.
The levy was imposed to cover worker entitlements in the wake of the airline's failure but Government has subsequently made it clear that it expects the company's administrators to pay back all of the $335 million this cost.
Combet said shortfalls in Ansett superannuation funds weren't covered by the Government's entitlements arrangement.
"I've asked Mr Anderson to consider this alternative proposal to help former Ansett workers and to prevent the Government from becoming the biggest financial winner from the Ansett collapse," Combet said.
He said its current refusal to use surplus from the ticket levy would leave a shortfall in the funds available to meet the entitlement of thousands of sacked workers.
Combet said his proposal would have the following benefits ...
- ending court action over superannuation funds
- allowing the administrator to resume instalment payments to former employees
- improving the prospect of sacked workers receiving full entitlements
- allowing the government's $335 million loan to be paid in full without Government profiting from the debacle
- assuring travellers their ticket taxes had been used for the purpose stated at the time of collection
Twenty-five LHMU Cleaners Union members at the Airport West Westfield shopping centre this week presented the local shopping centre management with a letter demanding that poverty wage workers should be treated with more respect.
The LHMU delegation was part of a growing national union campaign demanding Justice for Westfield Cleaners.
LHMU cleaners at four other Westfield shopping centres in Victoria are doing exactly the same thing handing in letters of demand - at Westfield Doncaster, Westfield Fountain Gate, Westfield Southland and Westfield Bay City.
Among the delegation is Ofelia Beltran, who came to this country 15 years ago in the hope of finding a life better than the one she had known in Manila, in the Philippines.
But Ofelia, 43, and the mother of three teenage children aged 15 to 20, has found only hard work as a shopping centre cleaner at Airport West Westfield.
" Frank Lowy - the billionaire owner of the Westfield Mall chain across the globe - is this year celebrating his 50 year success story as a migrant to this country - the land of the fair-go, " Ofelia says.
" That's great - but my family also wants to make a success of Australia. Mr Lowy and his Westfield chain are not helping us to have an even chance in our fair go society.
Cleaners at Westfield have made a number of demands for the shopping mall operator to :
The world's biggest rubber products manufacturer announced the two-week lockout during a new round of Enterprise Agreement negotiations.
It came after tyre workers voted down the company's proposed enterprise agreement for the second time in three weeks. "
LHMU assistant SA secretary, Chris Field, said Bridgestone executives, pocketing over $2 million a year in salaries and bonuses expected tyre workers to accept a reduction in real wages and conditions.
Mr Field said the company was demanding:
- A freeze on any guaranteed wage increases for three years;
- Increased hours of work;
- Reduced number of rest breaks;
- Restrictions on access to overtime;
- Penalties for workers on sick leave;
- No job security;
- Unrestricted right to casualise the workforce through use of labour hire.
In Australia, Bridgestone is forecasting profits this year of over $12 million. This follows profits last year of over $12 million and retained profits of $89 million.
" Our members say that it is time Bridgestone came back to the bargaining table and negotiated for an Agreement which includes mutually agreed outcomes which take the workplace forwards, not backwards."
The Broken City Library, Barrier Industrial Council and Broken Hill City Art Gallery have banded together to present the collection, which celebrates the power and achievements of the union movement.
Particular reference is made to the role of unions in Broken Hill, and its consequential influence on labojur rights across Australia.
The exhibition features works by Roy Dalgarno and the celebrated mural by Noel Counihan on the triumph of the worker; prints by Mandy Martin, historical native paintings by Sam Byne and other contemporary images by Wayne Robbie, Diedre Edwards, Howard Steer, Julie Watkins, Robert Groves, Bushy White, Angela Fitzpatrick-Wren, Thalia Robertson, John Lindsay Gregory, Jim Paterson and Siobhan Bailey.
Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery Manager Jacqui Hemsley said the works portray the times, issues and leading individuals that sought the power to change employers' attitudes to the worker.
"The issues explored are the impact of industry and the environment, women, inequality and the dangers of the working environment, the role of the unions and the society that has been through the change that unionism and the establishment of the rights of the working class has force," she said.
Organisations such as the Trades and Labor Council have recently commissioned mixed media artists to incorporate the actual products or tools into artworks representing that trade.
CD Launch: With These Arms, songs & poems of the MUA
The Maritime Union of Australia is an extraordinary organisation to be able to count so many playwrights, poets, painters, cartoonists and writers amongst its friends. In the 1950s the union had it's own documentary film unit.
For a time Sydney's New Theatre was housed in the wharfies' headquarters in Sussex Street. Artists like Noel Counihan, Rod Shaw and Herb McClintock worked with the union for many years. Writers such as John Morrison, Frank Hardy, Dorothy Hewitt, Merv Lilley, Wendy Lowenstein and Denis Kevans were among the many supporters of the union.
With These Arms is a compilation of songs and poems from many sources, from emails from old LPs and tapes, from CDs, pamphlets, magazines, and books. From the picket lines and support concerts during the lockout in 1998 are songs and poems written and performed at that time.
These new songs and poems are from Tim O'Brien, Peter Hicks, John Dengate, Wendy Lowenstein, John Warner, John Hospodaryk, Maurie Mulheron, John Tomlinson and Penny Harrison. There are also songs and poems spanning the last 70 years or so, including many from the musicians of the folk revival movement like Don Henderson, Chris Kempster, Bill Berry, Declan Affley, Harry Robertson, and Clem Parkinson.
It's hard to think of another union in the world that has had so many songs written about it. Is to do with the constant global traveling of sailors? or the multicultural mix of waterside workers? or the union's long history of active interest in Australian theatre, film, art and music?
The union campaigned hard over the years for Aboriginal rights, have supported fellow unionists both at home and around the world, have been involved in the anti-colonial, anti-war and anti-apartheid movements. For over a hundred years the MUA has made firm friends at home and abroad, friends who stood by union when it came to face the might of government and employer combined in illegal conspiracy in 1997-1998.
With These Arms will be launched at The Gearin Hotel Katoomba, Saturday August 23rd at 12 noon courtesy of Politics in the Pub and
Blue Mountains Unions Council.
The launch will take the form of a concert with many of the performers from the CD including:
The CD will be available from:
Level 2 365 Sussex St
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9267 9134
Fax: (02) 9261 5897
Email: [email protected]
I agree with both Lorraine Blaney and Anne Greenaway for the need for workplace bullying to continue to be publicised by Workers Online including case studies.
I lost a job through workplace bullying and personally had to financially bear psychological and other medical treatment costs. The bullying took the forms of derogatory comments, put downs, being given harsher targets, refusal to address harassment on the basis of an illness I had, refusing to make reasonable adjustment, not being awarded pay increases as well as denying my work achievements instead giving credit to others for my work. One of the reasons was simply because the bully did not like me. Hardly a reason to force someone out of their job.
This bullying was reported to the employer concerned as well as reported again in an exit survey. No action was ever taken. The person who carried out the bullying was a serial bullier and has gotten off scot free.
I have been finding that there is no legislation that appears to protect bullied workers. Even reporting the bullying to the relevant govt authority guarantees no action. There is also no guarantee of protection for myself against possible retaliation should the employer find out that I had reported the bullying elsewhere. This is a huge concern as I've managed to re establish myself elsewhere in the workforce and have a need for privacy.
There is a real need for government, OH&S and industrial law to get serious about bullying.
Add to the list of the casualised workers referred to in Jim Marr's story the 15,400 NSW TAFE Part Time Casual Teachers (PTCs) who outnumber their permanent counterparts 3:1. More than half of us are women.
For teaching the same hours as our permanently employed colleagues, we receive just over half the wage and are flagrantly exploited and intimidated.
We are unemployed for 16 weeeks of each year.
No holiday leave, no parental leave, no carer's leave, no compassionate leave and token minimal sick leave only, for working a specified number of hours per year.
We are the only teachers in the public education system in NSW who do not receive pro rata pay and conditions.
Our case for pro rata pay begins in NSW IRC on 1 September and the NSW Labor Government is going to fight the claim tooth and nail - "no money" and the "economic impact on the state" is the "justification" for attempting to unashamedly maintain TAFE PTCs as the Department's working poor.
(Two teachers for the price of one is an admirable fiscal achievement and one worth hanging on to!)
In consideration of the $800 million windfall from Stamp Duty, an increase in gambling taxes, $450 million per year for the School Student Transport Subsidy, which in a large number of cases sees students transported past public schools to private schools, plus the budget suplus, it is obvious the Carr government's priorities do not include equity of employment conditions.
Bob Carr, the Education Premier who values teachers? Add the word "under" to "values"!
I would have thought the way to address increasing home unaffordabilty was for the union movement to launch an industrial campaign to increase real wages in line with the increasing rate of home affordibality.
12 per cent a year for the next 3 years. How about it Crean,Combet and all the other ALP crapheads?
And a campaign for community housing.
Oh, but these are leftist ideas and the leadership of the union movement is so wedded to capitllism that they reject them and stand head and shoulder with John Howard and his alter ego Mark Latham.
A recent letter to the editor ‰Detained Australians Denied Rights‰ in the Illawarra Mercury by Mr. Michael Organ , the Member for Cunningham , certainly tickled my interest as to the ill thought out plans of Mice and Men.
I personally have been advocating the separation of the Union movement and the ALP , as being mutually beneficial , and the Illawarra is one depressed Industrial area which has been and still is a perfect example of this necessity. The continued disenfranchisement of this electorate through Branch Stacking and rorting , even after the loss of Cunningham to the Greens displays an arrogance of the people unheard of since the pre-French Revolution period.
Sadly when a commitment is given half-heartedly the altruistically motivated intentions usually end up as a ŒDogs Dinner‚ , the election of the Greens in the seat of Cunningham has given rise to this eventuation and in consideration as to the obvious disinterest as to the unemployment problems experienced by Australians , in contrast to the interest shown in a self confessed supporter of foreign interests, and recently manifested through the aforementioned letter to the editor.
So while I am in complete understanding as to the need for the lesson consequently and severely , but still palpably taught but unlearned to the ALP in the seat of Cunningham ,and with the current economic pain suffered by all the residents of the Illawarra region , the preoccupation as to the well being of those who would do further harm to all Australians as indicated in the letter 'Detained Australians Denied rights' , must give cause for this electorate to now consider the appropriateness of their method of retribution upon the branch stackers or rorters within the ALP?
The continued branch stacking by the intellectual derelicts currently littering the ALP and Trade Union landscape may ensure a power base for these self promoting pigs in the short term , but objective history will as always eventually prevail as the truth.
It is this leadership by men of straw which has ensured the perpetuation of the Howard myth , this is slowly ebbing into state politics as people like Bob Carr now in his political twilight years reveals the true persona.
Adam Smith , articulated this philosophy very succinctly :
"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our necessities but of their advantages."
This is the case of the Australian seafarers who barricaded themselves on board the CSL Yarra, a ship running freight between Australian ports, when their Canadian owners re-flagged the ship to the Bahamas and announced it would replace its workforce with Ukranians who would be paid Third World wages.
The High Court this week ruled that workers, employed directly and exclusively to service Australia, should have the benefit of Australian award wages and conditions.
In doing so, the High Court has blown the whistle on the creep of free trade, which has seen the jobs of Australian factory workers, clothing workers, IT workers and even call centre workers exported to nations where the absence of an award safety net makes their wages significantly lower.
If the maritime unions had lost this case, how long would it have been before hotels, building developments and resource companies were also seeking exemptions?
The decision should not be overstated but it is significant for a few things: (i) our highest court has found there are limits to the global labour market and (ii) our national government argued vehemently that this shouldn't be the case.
To those of us who were sickened by the base wedge politics of the last federal election it is a bitter irony that the Howard Government is such a champion of economic globalisation.
Indeed, in bilateral talks with the US it has been Howard who has been blocking the Bush Administration's albeit reluctant push for the incorporation of global labour standards.
During the last federal election campaign, the MUA ran some newspaper advertisements that asked the simple question: "why does John Howard want to keep one boat out and let all the others in?"
Like so much of that campaign, the message was swamped by the mass hysteria induced by the Howard Government's campaign to 'secure our borders'.
He illegally blockaded the Tampa, fabricated the children overboard affair and lay doggo while more than 300 asylum seekers drowned.
But the words ring true long after the panic of northern invasion from terrorists evaporated into the whiff of political rhetoric that it always was.
The fraud of John Howard is that while he makes great play of keeping our borders protected from foreigners, he actively supports companies that want to export our jobs offshore.
He knows that the Australian people want a government to stand up against the global tide for them. He's just tricked them into thinking the enemy is couple of thousand desperate refugees and not the corporate order that now rules the global markets.
While the debate over the benefits of free trade has its pros and cons, one thing is clear: core global labour standards need to be incorporated into all trade agreements. That is, only companies that do not use child labour, do not use slave labour and give their workers the basic right to organise should be allowed to trade with Australia.
It should not be contentious; that it is highlights the triumph of the Right in deifying the market.
It is this debate, more than any other, that could define the upcoming triennial ACTU Conference. It will be interesting to see how far the union movement is prepared to push labour's political wing to create a set of trade rules that give Australian workers what the High Court seems to recognise they deserve: a fighting chance.