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Issue No. 209 20 February 2004  

Regions To Be Cheerful
Rule changes endorsed by this weekís NSW Labor Council Annual General Meeting reorganising the South Coast Labor Council into as a regional branch council should not be under-estimated.


Interview: Trading in Principle
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, a key figure in the Labor movement, discusses the big issues - from Mark Latham to Pavlovís Dogs.

Unions: While We Were Away
While Workers Online was washing sand from between its toes and enjoying an Indian summer at the cricket, there was a reality show chugging relentlessly away in the background, Jim Marr reports.

Politics: Follow the Leader
Workerís Online tool man, Phil Doyle, dives into the ALPís Darling Harbour love-in and nearly drowns in treacle.

Bad Boss: Safety Recidivist Fingered
The CFMEU has come up with a killer nomination to kick off our 2004 hunt for Australiaís worst employer.

Economics: Casualisation Shrouded In Myths
British academic, Kevin Doogan, sets the record straight on casualisation and warns unionists about the dangers of scoring an own goal

History: Worker Control Harco Style
Drew Cottle and Angela Keys ask if it's worth rememberinng the 1971 Harco work-in.

Review: Other Side Of The Harbour
The 1998 maritime dispute threatened to tear many a family apart but Katherine Thomson's Harbour tells the tale of at least one that it brought back together - albeit reluctantly, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Trains Go Backwards

 Mum Canít Bank on Westpac

 Andrews Up for Hanke Panky

 Riot Raises Safety Probe

 ABC of Solidarity

 "Shameful" Action Pays Dividends

 Bum Rap for Bump Caps

 Strikers Tie Down Gas Project

 Heat Rises at Uni

 TeleTech's Dead Heart

 Tired Drivers Fight Hypocrisy

 Seven Days on a Leaking Boat

 Families Back Safety Calls

 Howard Pushes Pay Cut

 Activist's Notebook


The Soapbox
Dog Whistlers, Spin Doctor and Us
John Menadue argues the "better angels" of the Australian character are having their wings ripped off by an ever-expanding group dedicating to keeping the public at arms length from our decision-makers.

Something Fishy In Laos
Phillip Hazelton fishes around in Vientiane, Laos, and looks at the impact of Bird Flu on those relying on feathered friends for survival.

Magic Realism
Phil Doyle discovers that literature and sport may have more in common than you would think

The Westie Wing
Trickle, flood or drought? Workers friend Ian West, MLC, is wet, wet, wet on the issue of bilateral Free Trade.

 On the Road
 A Casual Affair
 Latham Is A Bad Man
 Congrats Johnny
 Tomís Bit
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Tired Drivers Fight Hypocrisy

State Transit bus drivers slammed as "hypocritical" managementís drug and alcohol policies and say they do not address real problems of fatigue.

The news comes as international researchers called into question ways of measuring fatigue, which many unions argue is as important an issue as drugs and alcohol.

Unions, who argue that impairment is the real issue, were briefed on the latest research into sleep loss and its impact on workplace safety by a team of experts. Their findings are set to be published in the March edition of leading journal, Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine.

After the presentation the NSW Labor Council expressed concern over the models being used to assess fatigue in the workplace, including the Fatigue Audit InterDyne (FAID) test, used by Australian employers.

"The fatigue tests were designed for the effects of total sleep deprivation, where the issue for workplace safety is partial sleep deprivation," says NSW Labor Council Occupational Health and Safety Officer Mary Yaager. "We are concerned that these are being used in certain industries and they may actually increase risk factors."

"Similar to the situation with rail, State Transit buses runs on overtime," says Peter Jenkins of the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU). "We're negotiating an enterprise bargaining agreement to create more flexibility over leave."

Jenkins pointed out that some bus drivers were working up to 12 days straight; many travelled up to four hours a day from the western suburbs, Wollongong and the Central Coast on top of shifts that can last up to nine hours. Drivers are also expected to work overtime on Sundays.

"The RTBU as a whole has argued that if you're impaired at a 0.02 blood alcohol reading then someone who has worked 12 days would have to be as impaired," says Jenkins.

The RTBU believes that flexibility with leave arrangements and rostered days off would make working for State Transit a more family friendly proposition.


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