||Issue No. 197||26 September 2003|
Coming to the Party
Interview: Crowded Lives
Activists: Life With Brian
Industrial: National Focus
Unions: If These Walls Could Talk
Economics: Beating the Bastards
Media: Three Corners
History: The Brisbane Line
Trade: The Dumping Problem
Review: Frankie's Way
The Locker Room
A Sick War
Entitlements: Ball in Carr’s Court
The resolution to end support for a Commonwealth solution, is one of a raft of reforms to improve job security that will carry cross-factional union support at next weekend’s State ALP Conference.
NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson says workers entitlements is an issue that has been allowed to drift for too long.
"I think it is true that it has been convenient for the NSW Government to shift the responsibility to Canberra," Robertson says.
"But as long as the Liberal Party holds power, working people know that this is only rehtoric and that the only governments that will come to their aid are State Labor Governments."
Under the joint union proposal the Carr Government would pick up the issue and work with other state Labor Government to develop a national model of state-based protection.
Such a scheme would provide full protection for redundancy, accrued leave and time in leiu, ensuring when a company collapses, workers are at the head of the queue.
Transport Workers Union state secretary Tony Sheldon is backing the motion, which he says will provide relief for the 19,000 Australian workers and their families lose $500 million every year.
"The NSW Labor Government and State Labor Governments around the country have to end this theft," Sheldon says. "It is our expectation that the NSAW Government will lead the way."
The common agenda for NSW unions introduces a new dynamic into the ALP Conference, which has been traditionally split along factional lines.
Robertson says its just an other step in building the political strength of a trade union movement that is becoming increasingly frustrated by its Parliamentary wing.
"These resolutions are all about core Labor values and will provide an interesting yardstick about how much we still have in common," he says.
Among the other agreed resolutions:
- purchasing policy: a commitment from the NSW Government to only give government contracts or funding to companies that treat their workers decently
- industrial manslaughter: criminal sanctions against employers and directors whose negligence leads to the death of a worker.
- job security: government support for the Labor Council's Secure Employment Test Case to increase the rights of casuals and stem the growth in labour hire and contracting out.
- family friendly policies: including support for paid maternity leave for all Australian families
- and support for the manufacturing sector, struggling under the neglect of the Howard Government.
Electrical Trades Union state secretary Bernie Roirdan says he wants to see ALP politicians take the Conference and the resolutions seriously.
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