The Official Organ of LaborNET
click here to view the latest edition of Workers Online
The Official Organ of LaborNET
Free home delivery
Issue No. 204 21 November 2003  

Holes in the Net
The Medicare debate may be clouded by the minutae of the health delivery system, but it really boils down to an old-fashioned ideological battle between user-pays and state responsibility.


Interview: Union for the Dispossessed
The Welfare Rights Centre's Michael Raper on 20 years of activism, the politics of punishment and how to make Australia egalitarian again.

Unions: Joel's Law
Building Workers have overcome powerful forces to push workplace safety back up the national agenda. But, Jim Marr writes, their "success" has come at an unacceptable cost.

National Focus: Spring Carnival
It must be spring: punting in Victoria, singing in South Australia, fighting in America. It’s all there in the national wrap from Noel Hester plus an Australian union movement rugby world cup class consciousness poll.

Bad Boss: Fina and Fiends
They sacked the job delegate, reinstated him after an IRC hearing, and sacked him again two weeks later. But that was just the beginning.

Industrial: The Price of War
Mass industrial action is brewing in Israel as the policies of the right-wing Sharon Government come home to roost, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Who's Got What
Frank Stilwell pours over the latest BRW Rich List to build a picture of the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots.

History: Containing Discontent
Racism against minorities has always been a stock in trade of politicans, writes Phil Griffiths

Review: An Honourable Wally
Most Australians probably look at our politicians and feel they could do a better job but when redundant meatworker Wally Norman gets the chance to find out he realises getting elected is a major hurdle, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Colours of Discontent
A thousand blossoms bloomed during the US President's spring-time colonial visit last month.


 US Giant Attacks Aussies

 Exposed – OEA in Kids Scandal

 Left-Right Flattens Abigroup

 ANZ Cops Fine Over Robbers

 Classroom Stoush Gets Personal

 Seven Workers Pass "Intelligence" Test

 Stop Press: Coal Strike

 Nurses: MedicarePlus Points to America

 ‘Joel’s Law’ Gathers Momentum

 Skilled Picketers Confront Patrick’s

 Yahoo Censors Union Ad

 Labor’s Cotter Court ‘Faking’ It

 TAFE Puts Best Foot Forward

 Wharfies, Actors, Seafarers Unite

 Debus Gives Up On Lawyers Picnic

 Nelson Backdown Not Enough

 Online Pay Check



The Soapbox
Bush's Faith-Filled Life
The President's conversion, 'sense of divine calling' and struggle with sobriety are subjects of a forthcoming book, writes Bill Berkowitz

The Not So Smart Money
Phil Doyle is sick of big money ruining grass roots sport, and he’s taking his bat and going home.

The Westie Wing
The ongoing challenge for Labor members of parliament is to make what the Premier calls the ‘creative partnership’ between the Government and the union movement a reality, writes our favourite MP Ian West.

Behind the Junta
Saw Min Lwin, Secretary for Trade Union Rights/ Human Rights for the Federation of Trade Unions Burma (FTUB), outlines the struggle for workers in his country.

 Jack Lives Here
 Saving Jobs
 Public Transport A Bit Rich
 The Smirker
About Workers Online
Latest Issue
Print Latest Issue
Previous Issues
Advanced Search

other LaborNET sites

Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
Evatt Foundation

Labor for Refugees



Skilled Picketers Confront Patrick’s

Sydney and Brisbane wharfies are fighting attempts to drive union delegates off Patrick’s maintenance sites.

Urging widespread support for maritime workers, ETU secretary, Bernie Riordan warned other unions the waterfront showdown was a direct threat to their right to exist.

"When we looked at ourselves and set about rebuilding unions a key factor was delegate empowerment," Riordan said. "This dispute is all about the boss not wanting good quality, hard-working delegates.

"If we can't protect our delegates, we can't protect the trade unions."

Workers are picketing maintenance workshops at Port Botany and Fisherman Islands where contractor, Skilled Engineering, has provoked claims of "blatant discrimination" by refusing jobs to the elected delegates.

Skilled is the fourth maintenance contractor used by Patrick since its efforts to de-unionise Australian ports were beaten off five years ago.

When Transfield washed its hands of the contract Skilled came in, announced cutbacks and, after interviewing individual employees, announced Sydney and Brisbane delegates would be out of work.

Permanent and casual workers at both ports refused to sign Skilled contracts and have led community protests outside their workshops all week.

"Every time the contract changes hands they see it as an opportunity to give us a kicking," MUA NSW branch secretary, Robert Coombs, said. "It's discrimination and our members are not going to tolerate it.

"Our people have delivered on productivity and can't see any reason why they should be penalised.

"We want this matter sorted out but if our industrial struggle is not successful we will be taking victimisation cases in the appropriate jurisdiction."

Skilled has refused to rehire three Port Botany workers, including both MUA delegates. Similarly, at Garden Islands, neither elected workforce representative has been offered re-employment.

All former Transfield employees, permanent and casual, have refused to sign Skilled contracts until the company employs all former workers, including the delegates.

NSW Labor Council secretary, John Robertson, said anyone looking to show solidarity with Port Botany workers by joining the community protest should cast their minds back to the 1998 Patrick's dispute.

"It's at the same place," he said.


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 204 contents

email workers to a friend printer-friendly version latest breaking news from labornet

Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue

© 1999-2002 Workers Online
Workers Online is a resource for the Labour movement
provided by the Labor Council of NSW
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005

Powered by APT Solutions
Labor Council of NSW Workers Online