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Issue No. 191 15 August 2003  

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.


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.


 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


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.

 Tom’s Tool
 Neighbourhood Watch
 MUA CD Launch
 The Remittance Man
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Rail Workers Spitting Mad

Rail workers are frequently being spat on and assaulted as angry patrons take out frustrations on front line staff.

Public anger stems from management calls over which workers have no control, according to the Rail, Tram and Bus Union which wants staff protected from public violence.

"One guard got spat on three times in one shift,' says RTBU lead organiser Phillip Kessey. "Our members are in the front line of having to deal with decisions of management."

Despite the introduction of Transit Officers the number of assaults inflicted on State Rail staff has seen a dramatic increase in recent months, leading the RTBU to urge recommendations from last year's Beamer Report on Transport Services Minister, Michael Costa.

The Union is seeking a meeting with the Transport Services Minister to check progress in implementing the report.

The Beamer report, Occupational Violence Committed Against Public Sector Transport Workers in New South Wales, made thirty recommendations designed to improve the safety of State Rail employees.

These included:

- Calls for State Rail to develop an implementation strategy for the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design review and audits of stations be developed.

- A detailed analysis of incidents and contributing factors to be undertaken by State Rail and a program of risk-based and intelligence-led security developed for on train security guard and station based security officers. A greater level of cooperation should exist between transport agencies in regard to violence at work.

- State Rail and State Transit to provide their employees with a guide that summaries occupation violence policies and provides practical information on occupational violence issues.

- To define the roles and responsibilities for State Rail and State Transit managers in security risk management, position descriptions should be amended to include security related performance criteria.

- Sentencing Guidelines be developed by the Attorney General's Office in relation to persons who assault public transport and other employees.

"We support the introduction of Transit Officers," says Kessey. "But merely fining or infringing someone is not going to stop the problem. We think they are doing a terrific job. They've got the hardest job, but they are hamstrung."

Kessey says the RTBU would like to see legislative change to beef up the powers of transit Officers.

"Our members have put up with tremendous reform,' adds Kessey. "There are fewer people to do the jpbs and more demands on them. Management are making decisions without consulting with staff."

The NSW Labor Council is supporting The RTBU's calls for a public campaign of awareness about assaults on State Rail staff.


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