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Issue No. 193 29 August 2003  

Smells Like Community Spirit
Over the past view weeks Labor Council has been undertaking some focus groups to gauge community perceptions to unions. The result is a massive wake up call for those of us who want a union culture to survive into the 21st century.


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 monthís 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.


 Iranians Expelled Over Teen Affair

 IR Promises Crash on Motorway

 Telstra Pigs Out on Indian

 Teachers Fight Casual Attitude

 Superstars in EBA Showdown

 Sink One with Billy

 Abbott Asked to Consider Honesty

 Printerís Win Drink Stink

 WorkCover To Take Robbery Seriously

 Power Blackouts Expose Jobs Shortage

 Qantas Woes Set To Soar

 Sports Workers Walk

 Bigger Money Player Equals Job Cuts

 Indonesian Human Rights Appeal

 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.

 A Nice Letter
 Tomís History Of The World
 Tony Is A Tool
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Teachers Fight Casual Attitude

TAFE teachers are accusing the NSW Labor Government of standing in the way of significant improvements to the lives of casual workers across the state.

Key Carr Government Minister, John Della Bosca, has announced his intention to intervene in a landmark Teachers Federation case that could deliver casual and part-time TAFE Teachers equality with their permanent colleagues.

Many TAFE casual part time teachers work full time hours but their employment status presents obstacles to buying a home and meeting health care needs.

The case, which will be heard in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission from September 1, could have repercussions for all casual workers.

"For most PTCs there are 16 non-teaching weeks of enforced annual unemployment. There is no security, no leave loadings, no compensation and little grounds for claims of unfair dismissal for this disposable workforce," says Northern Sydney TAFE teacher Dianne Sykes.

"It allows no capacity to plan futures; it's difficult, if not impossible, to create a decent life for oneself and one's family," says Sykes who is employed as a Part Time Casual teacher.

Sykes points out that she, along with some 15,446 PTC teachers in NSW TAFE, have no access to family, carer's, or bereavement leave and in many cases there is no sick leave. Their mode of employment perpetuates the culture of intimidation and exploitation which ensures they perform many hours of unpaid work in an effort to retain their paid work, subsidising public education to an extraordinary degree. They may be dismissed, no explanation required, on just two hours notice.

75% of teachers are Part Time Casuals, many of whom are living marginally above the poverty line.

"You're forced to take anything that you can merely to survive. No matter how worn out you are you can't take a holiday at the end of the year because there may not be a job for next year. I've watched people become haggard because of being caught in this bind," says Dianne Mullin a PTC at Randwick TAFE.

The Department of Education, at the direction of the government, has lodged its opposition to the TAFE PTC Pro Rata Award variation on the grounds that they do not perform all of the duties of permanent teachers, and even if they did, the State cannot afford to pay them.

A disturbing development has been an intervention into the case from the NSW Minister for Commerce, Mr John Della-Bosca is opposing the PTC teacher's case on economic grounds, arguing that the NSW Government does not have the capacity to pay the teachers permanent salaries.

"I don't know what role the Minister for Commerce has in intervening in this role," NSW Labor Council Secretary John Robertson told the NSW Labor Council meeting on the 28th of August.

"This case sets a framework for the basic justice of equal pay and conditions for equal work," says NSW Teachers Federation Assistant General Secretary Phil Bradley.

Bradley pointed out that under current arrangements PTC teachers could not get a mortgage or have any employment security. PTC TAFE teachers working the same hours as full-time teachers received only 60% of the salary.

The teachers will mark the first day of spring by rallying outside the NSW Industrial relations Commission where their plea for justice will finally be heard.

"Supporters will be wearing/leaving flowers and foliage outside the IRC to symbolise the first day of Spring - the season of stunning change and new growth," says Dianne Sykes

The action to support TAFE PTC Teachers will be held on Monday the 1st Sep at 9:15am at the NSW IRC, 815-825 George Street Sydney.

The case is scheduled to continue until September 30.


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