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Issue No. 191 15 August 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Three Year Itch
The triennial ACTU Congress meeting Melbourne this week comes at the most difficult of times for the union movement, as the horror prospect of seven years of conservative government becomes an ongoing reality.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 Public Backs Services Over Tax Cuts

 Seafarer Awards – Full Steam Ahead

 Sunnybrand Plucks Workers

 Call Centre Stink Over Time in Loo

 Reynolds Banks on Safety

 Workers To Back League Stars

 Witnesses Line Up for Test Case

 Unfair Legislation Dismissal

 Tax Office "Bites" Its Own

 Bosses Grab Massive Pay Hikes

 IR Staff Walk Over Job Cuts

 Government Kills Manslaughter Bill

 Rail Workers Spitting Mad

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

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.

Education
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.

Postcard
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.

L E T T E R S
 Tom’s Tool
 Neighbourhood Watch
 MUA CD Launch
 Trainspotting
 The Remittance Man
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

IR Staff Walk Over Job Cuts


Staff at the NSW Office of Industrial Relations are striking after management ignored its own consultative agreements to slash jobs.

The Office intends either transferring of abolishing a quarter of its positions.

"How are we supposed to have faith that this department will look after the best interests of workers in the state if they have scant regard for the rights of their own employees,' says PSA industrial officer Anthony D'Adam.

Staff picketed the Oxford Street offices on August 14 with further action planned for August 21. Staff at Newcastle, Wollongong, Bankstown, Parramatta and Coffs Harbour offices also took action.

There is concern that the cuts will affect service delivery by the Office of Industrial Relations as well as leaving the futures and livelihoods of many employees in limbo.

Existing agreements, and government policy, state that any move to restructure jobs requires consultation at the point of contemplation. In direct contradiction to this the Office of Industrial Relations called staff to meetings two weeks ago where they were told that their unit or jobs were gone.

D'Adam also indicated an alarming development with the new Department of Commerce recently holding a corporate planning day to establish the direction for department that has absorbed the Office of Industrial Relations. That meeting, while having a number of peak business organisations in attendance, excluded any participation from the NSW Labor Council or any trade union representatives.

The job cuts follow assurances from the new Department of Commerce that the role of the Office of Industrial Relations would not be diminished. As recently as April 16 NSW Premier Bob Carr told the NSW Labor Council that the Office of Industrial Relations would be strengthened.

Industrial Relations Minister John Della Bosca was also in attendance at that meeting.

The NSW Labor Council is looking to meet with the Premier and the relevant minister to support the striking workers.


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