Backs to the Wall
How does one judge a year like 2003, when on the surface the powers of darkness – read Bush and Howard and union-busting bosses - can point to the scoreboard and claim ‘we won!’?
Interview: Robbo’s Rules
Labor Council secretary John Robertson rules the line through 2003 and looks forward to a bigger and better year to come.
Unions: Fightback 2003
Tony Abbott, no less, summed up the tone of 2003 when he complained workers were frustrating his agenda, as Jim Marr reports.
Bad Boss: Madame Lash Whips Tony
Jim Marr explains how a local can manufacturer knocked off a quality field, including a notorious American call centre operator, in the race for Bad Boss honours.
Politics: United Front
Facing a new leader and new rules, Jim Marr speaks to key union players about the hot issues at January’s ALP National Conference.
Economics: Looking Back - Looking Forward
The year ends with the thought that 2004 must be better, writes Frank Stilwell in his annual review of all things economic.
International: Net Benefits
International editor Andrew Casey looks back on a year where workers stood up globally for services we once took for granted.
History: The New Guard
Who were Australia’s fascists in the 1930s and was John Howard’s father in the New Guard? Labour historian, Andrew Moore, uncovers some surprising information about Australia’s fascist past.
Poetry: What is the PM singing this Christmas?
Our Kirribilli spies, led by resident bard David
Peetz, have been listening in on the PM's preparations for Christmas, and have recorded the Howard family rehearsing this new Christmas carol.
Review: Culture That Was
2003 saw the Howard Government signal its readiness to swap culture for agriculture in a free trade deal with the US and film maker George Miller lament that Aussie's had run out of stories to tell anyway, writes Tara de Boehmler.
No Joy for ANZ - This Time
Nurses, Teachers Win Big
Govt Coy on Sackings Threat
NSW: State of Discomfort
Fashion Police Collar Moe
Telstra Picks Up Union Signal
E-Missiles Strike White House
STOP PRESS: Doubts Over Driver Test
Juggler Catches Union Gong
Chubb Beats Up On Own Guards
Commuters Face Long, Hot Summer
MUA Members Play Santa
Bennelong Grinch Strikes Again
G’day To Union Made Wines
The Guessing Game
We have consulted our regular list of mystics and gnostics to offer these throughts for the future.
Folk You Mate
Jan Nary looks at the role of workers songs in the upcoming National Folk Festival.
Shane Maloney – Crime Writer
For a crime writer whose books are set against a backdrop of unions and Labor Party politics, Shane Maloney confesses to little direct experience of either.
The Locker Room
Workers Online Sports Awards
Noel Hester and Peter Moss give their annual rundown of the good, the bad and the ugly in the world of sport.
Tom On Mark
The Web We Weave
Social Change Online's Mark McGrath's annual review of how unions are using the web to grow.
Looking The Otherway At Christmas
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Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
STOP PRESS: Doubts Over Driver Test
A new report has thrown doubts on a key test used by State Rail to measure train driver vigilance and attention.
The Safe Concentration And Attention Test (SCAAT) has been used by State Rail as a part of a psychometric testing program, given to safety critical employees.
One of the reports authors, registered psychologist Winston Horne, has called for State Rail to conduct more research on how it conducts psychometric assessments of employees.
"As a test of vigilance it's not too wonderful," says Horne. "There is no published research available."
Horne pointed out that the test's publishers supplied the only research available on the test. State Rail has records of SCAAT results from new applicants over the last twelve months and Horne has suggested that State Rail use this database to research the efficiency of the SCAAT against existing drivers.
The report's authors set out to answer two questions about the tests, which also include the Rules Acquisition Aptitude Test (RAAT) and the Mackworth Clock test: Are the tests currently being used [by State Rail] psychometrically sound? And, are the tests being used appropriate for use in the evaluation of existing employees following a safe working incident?
They found that the SCAAT has poor psychometric properties and there is "a lack of evidence that it does predict driver vigilance, concentration and attention".
May discriminate against older Train Drivers: report.
The report also found that the Mackworth Clock test was open to question.
"There is no evidence that the test can predict, with any accuracy, driver propensity for train accidents and it would seem that the test may unfairly discriminate against older Train Drivers who, while still being capable of driving trains safely, may not react as quicly to ypounger perons on the Mackworth Clock test," says the report.
Psychometrics is a branch of psychology concerned with psychological measurements.
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