The corporate responsibility you are looking for is switched off or not available
Bob Mansfield was once on the board of Optus when it was teetering on the brink. Obviously the ability to run a telco into the ground eminently qualifies him to run Telstra.
Telstra's plans to take over the Fairfax media company came to light this week, causing some embarrassment for the parties concerned.
It's a scary thought of what life would be like with Telstra running Fairfax. Apart from the obvious increase in media diversity, would this also mean that the Sydney Morning Herald would arrive three weeks late?
What the hell is Telstra doing trying to get its hands on everything around the country that isn't nailed down?
The company can't even get something as basic as running a reliable phone system right. Many who use what laughably passes as their broadband service will attest to this.
We've all heard the allegations of the sick and the elderly suffering unreliable phone services. We've seen the thousands of jobs disappear from what was once a national institution. We all know what it is like to give up three or four hours waiting to speak to a human being if we have a problem with the organisation.
And who is sitting at the top of this steaming pile? Bob Mansfield - the one time senior McDonalds' manager has brought the principles of corporate fast food to an essential service.
Bob is the chairman of the outfit that has no qualms about exporting our IT jobs offshore, after all that is in the best interests of shareholders. Well, some of them anyway.
How about the majority of public shareholders Bob is supposed to represent?
There once was a quaint notion that those at the top accepted responsibility for failures in an organisation.
Our Tool Of The Week has been described as a 'True Business Leader', which may or may not be a compliment.
Bob's presentations are apparently always "Performed" in an entertaining manner. How about entertaining us with a phone system that works and a bit of social responsibility Bob?
The Prime Minister's amusing response highlighted the hopeless position Mansfield is in. Howard railed that the collapse of this deal pointed out the foolishness of having 49% of the telco privatised. He's spot on - something as essential as a national telecommunications system should be 100% in the hands of the people, so it can do the job it was meant to do.
Instead we get a ham-fisted pro-privatisation show courtesy of a bunch of good time Charlies led by our Tool Of The Week. A man who is prepared to thumb his nose at the Australian public - who, after all, own the bloody company - in order to satisfy his own ego and bank balance.
For Mansfield to boldly set off on some corporate adventure is a classic example of the sort of ideological drones that infest Australia's business world.
Once again Corporate Australian has treated the Australian public like something you'd scrape off the bottom of your shoe.
The Australian public do not want a telecommunications carrier that cleans and slices while it dices. They expect Telstra to do the job it set up for - delivering telecommunications services at affordable prices to all Australians.
State Rail officials today dodged claims that services were deliberately being run down in order to soften up the travelling public for permanent service cuts.
Carlingford, Newcastle, Cronulla, the Inner West, the Southern Highlands and now the Blue Mountains have all faced service disruptions with rail services being replaced by buses.
Action for Public Transport has sheeted the blame home to Michael Egan, accusing the NSW Treasury of viewing the NSW Rail System as a $3m a day liability.
"There's certainly an organised running down of the system," says action for Public Transport secretary Jim Donovan. "It's unnecessary and counterproductive."
Donovan claimed that a move to close the rail line between Hamilton and Newcastle was part of a land grab for the real estate that runs between Hunter Street and the booming Newcastle waterfront area.
Countrylink services to Murwillumbah, Broken Hill and the Riverina faced cuts according to the transport advocacy organisation.
A new timetable proposal would see off peak and weekend services slashed across the network, with running times set to increase by 5%.
Workers Online tried to put the claims to public affairs staff at State Rail but, despite promises, calls were not returned last Friday.
The Bank, boasting a 2003 profit of $2.1 billion, told branch manager, Linda Vandine, her jobshare position would not be available on her return from maternity leave.
"It was really charming," Vandine told Workers Online. "We don't know what we are going to do, do we? They told me they would negotiate something when I get back in August, in the meantime we are in limbo.'
"It was a huge shock. If I wasn't having a baby I would still have my job. I really feel victimised and hurt."
On February 3, the Finance Sector Union took Vandine's case before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission. The IRC told the parties to talk through the issues and report back in March. To this point, Westpac hasn't settled a date to progress negotiations.
FSU national industrial officer, Andrea Mears, however, said she remained hopeful of a satisfactory outcome.
"Linda wants to go back to the position she earned through 15 years of loyal service. Isn't that what maternity leave provisions are supposed to be all about?" she asked.
"Our initial discussions were reasonably positive. We are still hopeful we can resolve this to everybody's satisfaction."
Vandine's jobshare partner has, meanwhile, been moved to a different position within the organisation.
Vandine said it was the uncertainly her family was finding difficulty. Previous experience suggested she might be moved to a relieving position but that the sheer size of the Westpac region she was employed in could lead to practical difficulties. It includes branches at Hornsby, Epping, St Ives and Turramurra.
The Guildford-based mother of three said managers were expected to be first into the office and last to leave.
She said the matter should have been sorted before she went on maternity leave, rather than the bank raising its problems a week after she gave birth
"I understand they (Westpac) run a business and I am prepared to negotiate just about anything that doesn't disadvantage my children," she said. "It's just not knowing that is making it really difficult for us at the moment."
Peter Reith’s former press secretary, Ian Hanke, has bobbed up on the payroll of Andrews, who is shepherding at least a dozen Bills, regarded as anti-worker by trade unionists, through Federal Parliament.
Experienced Parliamentary observers have noted a sudden change in tone since Hanke was welcomed on board by the previously mild-mannered Member for Menzies.
The following is from a 2000 Reith press release: "Labor's policy to abolish individual agreement-making reflects an ideological crusade against the rights of individual workers ...Only the unions back Mr Beazley's policy to abolish individual agreements in the regulated system. That is because union officials wrote the policy for him earlier this year."
That Reith release, which went over Hanke's name, bore an interesting comparison to a recent missive fired from Andrews Canberra office: "The Labor Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the union bosses ... Are these the same union bosses the Labor leader now takes his marching orders from?" Andrews asked.
Another Reith special accused Simon Crean of "trying to walk both sides of the street by saying one thing to the business community and another to his militant union mates."
Andrews, of late, seems like a man possessed. Just a fortnight ago one of his pressers asked of new ALP leader Mark Latham - "Why didn't he tell his union mates that he wanted to create jobs and achieve full employment?"
Andrews' office then informed the press that half of the delegates to this year's ALP national conference had a union background.
Hanke admitted to Workers Online he was back on the IR beat, working as an adviser to Andrews on Workplace Relations. He also confirmed he had had a hand in "some" recent press releases.
The news that the Government has attempted to put a bit of mongrel into their meek and mild Workplace Relations minister came to light in the newsletter published by crikey.com.au. Crikey's political commentator Hillary Bray described several bizarre releases earlier this year as "pretty damned undergraduate".
"He won't even be giving boys and girls of the Gallery a laugh. Piles of sanctimonious twaddle are no fun to sort through,' says Bray on the Crikey site.
Police Association president Ian Ball says the Police Force should face criminal prosecution if WorkCover finds that the police officers’ safety was ignored.
And Ball has warned that if WorkCover sits on its hands, the Association will launch its own legal action against the Police Service.
"We take the safety of our members seriously and we don't believe it is acceptable to send police into dangerous situations under-equipped," Ball says.
Ball has also fired a broadside at state and Federal Government for deregulating the liquor industry under the auspices of National Competition Policy.
"The Redfern riot is but one example of the sort of violence confronting police in this state on a daily basis caused by the availability of alcohol," Ball says.
"Too many communities are already suffering from social disadvantage brought about by the affects of alcohol and drugs without making such substances more freely available,
The stars, equally well known as Rampaging Roy Slaven and HG Nelson, made their stands after the ABC insisted on removing their producer of 17 years, Mark Kennedy, from Sunday shifts in a bid to save money.
CPSU ABC organiser, Stuart Hatter, revealed Doyle and Pickhaver had offered to dip into their own pockets to protect their long-running show. To this point, he said, the ABC had turned them down and still insisted on replacing the Band 7 producer with a 22-year-old who would cost less.
Kennedy devised This Sporting Life with the comedians for Triple J 17 years ago. Despite commercial television success and international acclaim for Olympic and World Cup specials, Doyle and Pickhaver return to the national broadcaster every Sunday afternoon to celebrate where it all began.
Industry sources say the high-profile pair sees This Sporting Life, a parody on commercial broadcasting, as belonging to Kennedy as much as them.
Hatter said there had been no suggestion that Kennedy's removal from This Sporting Life had been performance-related.
"It's got nothing to do with anything except ABC cost cutting," Hatter said. "They are saying they can get someone less experienced to work on Sundays for less money."
The CPSU is agitating to have Kennedy returned to his Sunday shifts as MEAA colleagues celebrate a breakthrough in their campaign to turn Aunty away from centralising sports coverage out of Sydney.
MEAA sources reported a "breakthrough" in negotiations with the corporation yesterday but details were sketchy as talks continued.
Journalists in Adelaide and Melbourne held stopwork meetings last week to protest the proposals. These were to have escalated into stoppages this week but yesterday's breakthrough has headed off the threat of immediate action by journalists.
Hatter confirmed CPSU officials had prepared resolutions of support to put before their members if the journalists had walked.
The ABC's plan to base sports coverage in Sydney had drawn fire from leading sporting figures, including AFL coaching legend Kevin Sheedy and Victorian Sports Minister, Justin Madden.
More than 1000 food and maintenance workers employed by SPC Ardmona in the Goulburn Valley stood firm to beat off "disappointing" company EBA offers, backed by the Liberal Party’s propoganda machine.
The Libs blasted the actions of employees at the company's Shepparton and Mooropna plants as "shameful", predicting their incomes would rot away, along with those of farmers.
"Unions are demanding that SPC Ardmona workers receive a pay increase, increased job security and a 36-hour week. Basically, they want more money for less work," propagandists claimed in a statement endorsed by Victorian state director Julian Sheezel.
Two separate EBAs saw around 1500 process workers get 13.5 percent increases over three years and the maintenance workers, represented by the AWU, AMWU, FEDFA and CEPU, sign off on lesser wage increases in return for eight additional rostered days off each year.
AWU national secretary, Bill Shorten, pointed out SPC Ardmona maintenance workers had never struck during harvest time before. In fact, he said, they had helped keep the company afloat by volunteering for pay cuts in 1990.
AMWU representative, Ray Campbell, said job security had been the key issue for his members.
"They wanted the capacity to move employees anywhere around the Goulburn Valley which is a pretty big place. We were also aware that the company has been in acquisition mode," Campbell said.
Campbell said that objection had been overcome and his members had retained important voluntary redundancy provisions.
Both union officials blamed SPC Ardmona, headed by aggressively anti-union managing director, Nigel Garrett, for the stoppages.
Campbell said everyone thought they had agreement after months of negotiations until, prior to Christmas, SPC came back with an entirely new negotiating position. He called the approach "very disappointing".
Shorten said the stoppages could have been avoided if the company had realised it was the workforce that made its brand its brand so important.
"By taking legally protected industrial action for the last six days these workers have had a victory that will change the way they work at SPC forever," Shorten said.
The trendy, baseball-style caps, fitted with a protective plastic lining, are at the centre of a wrangle that has seen some engineers accuse the national carrier of "window dressing" over safety.
Long-serving ALAEA delegate at Sydney Base Maintenance, Steve Fenech, refuses to don the caps, despite Qantas having declared them "mandatory" for heavy maintenance workers and "recommended" for other employees.
"I won't wear the things because I honestly don't believe they improve our safety," Fenech says. "My personal position is that they make our situation worse."
Fenech concedes the issue reported above was the result of smoko room tom foolery but insists it contains a warning about the equipment Qantas dished out to engineers three months ago.
The engineer struck by the spanner had removed the protective lining and, basically, took the force of spanner on his head but, Fenech says, that is going to happen because the plastic lining is designed to be removable.
He says long peaks limit visibility during close quarter technical work, increasing the likelihood of bumps, and there are at least two problems with the lineing.
Being plastic, it breaks on impact, and at least two workmates have had their scalps cut as a result and, in hot weather, it is extremely uncomfortable.
"I mean, it's plastic," Fenech said, "it doesn't breathe at all. These caps are extremely uncomfortable in the heat. Within 15 minutes of putting them on you are sweating profusely, sweat gets in your eyes, limiting your vision, and you get scalp irritations.
"They are very uncomfortable and that's why guys take the lineing out."
Fenech says the Bump Caps are "typical Qantas window dressing - We'll comply with anything that makes our workplace safer but these things don't improve our situation at all."
Organiser, Tony Lovett, said the AMWU and CEPU had asked volunteers to go back and tie the site down after weather forecasters predicted the continent's North West Shelf would be hit by a cyclone.
"That's what responsible workers do in these situations," Lovett told Workers Online. "When there is a cyclone warning we go home and tie down our houses, then we tie down the workplace. It's a safety issue."
The cyclone warning came as half a dozen companies were attempting to win Section 127 orders in the Industrial Relations Commission, forbidding 2000 workers on the gigantic project from engaging in any form of industrial action.
Lovett said the 380 who went back to secure the site, about 30km out of Karratha in West Australia's north, were the only union members left in town.
The workforce went on to complete its five-day stoppage in protest at management's use of scab labour.
Lovett said North West Shelf workers had given the companies "fair warning" that any use of "scab labour" would result in a five-day shut down after supervisors had been used to clean toilets during a cleaners dispute last year.
"We were faced with a situation where electricians had a dispute and management used scabs to do their work. It's not on," Lovett said.
The North West Shelf construction project is building infrastructure for the gas industry.
As coastal temperatures again hit 36 degrees last Friday, workers at Coffs Harbour's Southern Cross University were advised to consider pulling the pin or calling in Workcover.
The CPSU/PSA delivered the advice because many of its Southern Cross members still have no air conditioning in their offices, despite making representations on the problem since 1997.
Organiser Stephen Senise pointed out that the state's health and safety watchdog, Workcover, had set 26 degrees as the appropriate temperature for an office workplace.
"Obviously, there's some give and take, and staff realise they're living and working in the sub-tropics, but we're talking here of office temperatures well above 30 degrees for days and weeks on end," Senise said.
"Management are obliged to adopt every possible measure and strategy for maintaining a viable and safe work place in these hot conditions. Better yet, they could ditch their long-standing opposition to installing air conditioners."
Senise said if current conditions continued the union would regard Southern Cross University as being in violation of its OH & S responsibilities, and advise members to act accordingly.
This follows similar action against a woman at the company's Moe operation.
The Pennant Hills based employee is a member of the Jewish faith, who traditionally have a seven day mourning period. The worker sought additional leave, but the company refused to let him use either accumulated sick pay, leave without pay or annual leave to meet his responsibilities.
United Services Union (USU) organiser Paul Morris slammed the decision as "unfair, mean spirited and disrespectful to his culture."
TeleTech workers in New South Wales and Victoria stopped work on Monday February 16 over the company's refusal to negotiate with the USU and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU)
"These are young workers aged 20 to 25 who up until 6 months ago didn't even know a union existed,' says Morris. The statement that young people think unions are dinosaurs is simply not the case."
The company is resisting pressure from employees who have endorsed the unions going into bat for them.
Management sources have revealed that the company is close to talking to the union.
"Staff have refused to accept sub-standard individual contracts, otherwise known as AWAs," explains Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) Organiser Hayden Jones. "TeleTech has decided to punish them by leaving them on expired agreements and refusing to negotiate."
Meanwhile, award winning TeleTech safety representative Jerry Gambacorta has been elected to the chair of the company's occupational health and safety committee at Pennant Hills. Gambacorta was suspended last year for expressing health and safety concerns.
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.
The Cypriot-flagged, Eurydice, docked in Sydney today after a plate was welded onto its hull to prevent the discharge that it had seen it barred from entering port for seven days.
"The Eurydice is a good example of the sort of rust buckets the Federal Government is encouraging onto our coasts in their bid to keep Australian seafarers out of work," MUA secretary, Robert Coombs said.
"Yet again, our environment has been threatened by a flag of convenience vessel."
Representatives of the ITF were seeking to board the Eurydice and interview Russian, Indian and Phillipino crew members as Workers Online was published.
The ITF and MUA have been campaigning against the deregulation of shipping - based on FoC vessels that don't have to comply with domestic labour, environmental, safety or tax regimes - for years.
The Maritime Union says FoCs have been involved in most of the major oil spills and marine pollution issues of recent years. They said the 18-year-old Eurydice had a history of problems, including a collision with a chemical dock and barges in the Gulf of Mexico, less than two years ago.
A British intelligence group, meanwhile, has echoed the MUA warning that ports and shipping are vulnerable to international terrorism.
Al Qaeda could be planning a "maritime spectacular" Dominick Donald of Aegis Reasearch and Intelligence warned a London security conference this week.
Addressing delegates at the Intermodal Petroleum Transportation conference, donald warned the maritime sector was an obvious and easy target. Other analysts have warned of the danger posed by unregulated shipping, pointing out that Osama bin laden has interests in shipping and the role played by a Flag of Convenience vessel in the devastation of the USS Cole in East Africa.
Former Australian Transport Minister, Peter Morris, this week added his voice to those warning of maritime terrorism.
"Any one of the thousands of foreign ships that dock each year in Australian ports, particularly Sydney, has the potential to become a weapon of mass destruction," said Morris who now heads up the International Commission on Shipping (ICONS).
Morris said the US had recognised the danger but Australia was making itself "more vulnerable than most" by its reliance on foreign registered vessels that often deliberately hid their real owners or operators.
Submissions highlighted the tragic death of Dean McGoldrick as a case in which a penalty had no impact on a negligent employer.
Unions called for industrial manslaughter to be introduced in NSW as part of a submission to the NSW Upper House committee.
"It's important that WorkCover lift its game in terms of the way it relates to victims and their families," says NSW Upper House MP Ian West, who was a proxy on the committee for colleague Jan Burnswood. "The evidence before the committee showed that without the unions' backing [the victims friends and families] were left high and dry."
The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union wants answers from WorkCover as to why prosecutions were not pursued following a number of workplace fatalities.
NSW Labor Council OHS Officer, Mary Yaager, told the NSW Legislative Council Committee Inquiry into Serious Injury and Death in the Workplace that OHS legislation needs to be strengthened to send a clear message to bring about a cultural change in the state's workplaces.
Unions also identified problems with enforcement of existing safety laws and pointed out that OHS is not given the priority and attention it deserved.
Unions called for enforcement and implementation strategies to be dramatically improved. Labor Council proposed that the numbers and resources of workplace inspectors be increased, along with the powers of union and safety representatives to issue improvement notices.
The Inquiry is continuing.
The $10 a week wage rise proposed by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry was compared with the $7 000 an hour spent by Howard in commuting from Sydney to Canberra by ALP Workplace Relations spokesperson Craig Emerson.
Emerson, addressing the NSW Labor Council's annual general meeting, pointed to Howard's excesses that included spending $15 000 on a wine consultant.
The Labor Council's annual gathering also presented seven 'Scrolls Of Honour' for 2004 to:
- Jim Brae from the Transport Workers Union
- Norm Rodgers from the Transport Workers Union
- Col Phillips from the transport workers unin
- Ted Purins from the Construction, Forestry Mining and Energy Union
- Terry Mawdsley from the Construction, Forestry Mining and Energy Union
- Ante Popovic from the Construction, Forestry Mining and Energy Union
- Bill Woolroidge from the electrical trades Union
The meeting also formally adopted the establishment of the South Coast Trades and Labor Council as a Regional Branch Council of the NSW Labor Council.
"The reason it hasn't happened before was because of the cold war hostility between north and south," says South Coast Trades and Labor Council Secretary Arthur Rorris "Without the whole process of de-factionalisation the whole process would not have been possible."
Labor Council Secretary John Robertson hailed the move and looked forward to rolling the model out to other regions in NSW.
hoWARd the arseLIcKEr - performed playreading
_THE OLD FITZROY HOTEL
_129 DOWLING ST WOOLOOMOOLOO
_MONDAY FEB 23RD 7.30PM
Parnassus' Den will present a rehearsed reading presentation of D.B.Valentine's controversial and timely new political satire hoWARd the arseLIcKEr at the Old Fitzroy Hotel.
Inspired by, current Opposition Leader, Mark Latham's unabashed description of John Howard and the terrifyingly Orwellian language exploited by both Government and the corporate sector, hoWARd the arseLIcKEr - "a sharp edged vaudeville-esque agit-prop tragi-comic political satire that goes straight for the jugular" - has enjoyed two successful reading presentations with Melbourne's much respected La Mama theatre and Playbox Theatre Company, where it was selected from over 200 scripts for their Theatre in the Raw playreading season in 2003.
With Government funding proving impossible it is hoped the reading with ignite enough interest from potential backers for a full season in 2004.
For more information please contact
Publicist Jeanny Surya - 0401911022
Email - [email protected]
Women's Freedom in Iraq
5pm - 7pm Wednesday 25 February
Please circulate widely
NSW Greens MP Sylvia Hale is holding a reception for Layla Mohammed who will speak about her recent work in Baghdad, setting up a women's shelter and organising aid for women in camps. She will also speak about the problems of the occupation and the danger to women's rights posed by the adoption of Shari'a family law by the US backed Coalition Provisional Authority.
Refreshments will be served.
Donations to Organisation for Women's Freedom in Iraq (suggested donation $10/$5 concession)
RSVPs (preferably by Tuesday 24 February) to Office of Sylvia Hale Greens MLC, NSW Parliament 9230 3030
For more information about women's freedom in Iraq, contact Nicola Joseph 0401 769 167 or Janet Burstall - 0428 957 704
The Workers Want Drugs!
A Trivia Night for Mardi Gras Festival raising funds for HIV treatments for workers inSouth Africa.
Join us for a night of humour, drag, music, education, competition, glamour and solidarity.
Thursday February 26, 7pm
Teachers Club, Mary Street Surry Hills (near corner of Reservoir Street)
Tickets at the door:
$15 Individual $12 Mardi Gras Members $10 Concession
Need more info? Email [email protected] or
Phone Ken or Sally on 9264 9343
Australia Western Sahara Association
RALLY TO CELEBRATE THE SAHARAWI NATIONAL DAY
To call on UN to organise the promised referendum for self-determination in Western Sahara.
WHERE: UN Information Centre, 46-48 York Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000
WHEN: Friday 27th. February, at: 12.30-13.30
On 27 February 1976 the Saharawi Republic was proclaimed, while their war of national liberation was taking place. By celebrating this day we are supporting the Saharawi struggle for self-determination and an end to Moroccan occupation of their country, Western Sahara.
13 years have passed since the UN should have organised a referendum in Western Sahara to give its people a chance to decide their own future and exercise their inalienable right to self-determination.
The Saharawis have waited too long and have been very patient and helpful to the UN efforts to organise the promised referendum while the Moroccans have got away with obstructions and delaying tactics.
We want to express to the UN and the Australian government that 29 years of exile and suffering are enough. Its high time the UN assumed its responsibility and implemented its own resolutions and the Peace Plan for Western Sahara.
More delays mean more suffering for the Saharawi people.
ORGANISE THE REFERENDUM NOW, FREE WESTERN SAHARA
For more information please contact:
Lesley Osborne, AWSA Secretary: 02. 9810 5372
Gareth Johnston: Mobile: 0433108391
Check out more about the Western Sahara:
A d e l a i d e I n t e r n a t i o n a l W o r k p l a c e C o n f l i c t C o n f e r e n c e - 2 1 - 2 3 A p r i l 2 0 0 4
Workplace Conflict Conference
21-23 April 2004
Holiday Inn on Hindley (formerly the Novotel Adelaide), Hindley Street.
The workplace mirrors the world - dealing with conflict at work
Conflict is a characteristic feature of most workplaces and has many manifestations. Its impacts can be positive or negative. The conference will look at the sources of workplace conflict and its management. It will be of interest to human resource practitioners, advocates, legal practitioners, health professionals, conflict resolution professionals, educators, OHS&W practitioners and representatives, workplace change consultants, unions, employers, government agencies, academics and policy makers.
Dale Bagshaw, University of South Australia, Australia.
Richard Bonneau, Los Angeles Police Department, US.
Pat Ferris, Organisational Consultant, Canada.
Eric Lee, LabourStart, UK.
Patricia Mannix McNamara, University of Limerick, Ireland
Mark Thomson, Author, Australia.
Dieter Zapf, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany.
Privacy & Confidentiality - "Email is Forever"
Workplace Cultures & Managerial Fundamentalism
Workplace Grievance & Dispute Procedures
Training for Managing Conflict
Conference Registration Information:
Registration fee: $545
More information, including registration forms, can be found at the conference web site:
www.e v e n t s t r a t e g i e s . c om. a u / c o n f _ c a le n d a r .htm
F o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n , p l e a s e c o n t a c t t h e C o n f e r e n c e S e c r e t a r i a t :
E v e n t S t r a t e g i e s P t y , P O B o x 4 8 6 , U N L E Y , S O U T H A U S T R A L I A 5 0 6 1
T e l : 6 1 8 8 3 7 3 4 5 8 0 E m a i l : c o n f l i c t c o n f @ e v e n t s t r a t e g i e s . c om. a u
WHEN WORKERS UNITE - FOUNDATIONS OF TOMORROW
An exhibition of banners, badges and posters produced by trade unions, and
original artworks by Jeff Rigby highlighting the strong historical role
unions have played in the creation and conservation of our built
environment, whilst May Day materials emphasize the workers' achievements
in gaining and maintaining the rights and conditions of those who built it.
From: 1st May to 16th May 2003 at Braemar Gallery, 104 Macquarie Rd, Springwood
Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm
$2.00 donation to the community gallery on entry
I work as a long distance truck driver for a Victorian based company, of approx 35 drivers. We are pushed to do unreasonable hours, have contacted RTA.....we are paid on an expired EBA it expired in 1998...my understanding is the wages have actually risen since then and it is way under the award. have gone to the twu victorian branch.......no help there.. there are no oh&s rules at work.....no-one cares...spocken and made a complaint to worksafe victoria.....drivers drinking on the job in veiw of management....they say cant do anything because of the privacy act??? thats a beauty,,he knows the driver will be prosecuted not him I supose......victimisation, bullying underpayment, no OH&S, unsafe work practises, abuse,can you tell me who i can go to give this company a reality check before a driver or a member of the public is killed?????????????????????
I am sorry you couldn't help me re my letter about workplace bullying, no one wants to get involved. That's why it is in epidemic proportions! But it would have been nice if you had at least replied. Not only no answer to my letter, you have stopped sending me Workers Online. I realize that if I was a member of a union it would be different, but my husband always regarded himself as just a worker even though he was in a managerial position. He would have been in a union had it been possible, he always advised his workers not to leave the unions they were once members of.
Never mind I have been battling for justice for him for nearly 3 years now on my own, and I will continue to fight.
The first ever Casual Workers Conference has been called by Unite for Saturday 3rd April 2004.
The Conference will be an opportunity for the voice of casual workers to be heard. 2.2 million (1 million casual for over one year) face a working life without sickies, holidays, job security, the ability to get a loan and more. The Conference will skill up casual workers about their industrial and health and safety rights, legal situation, organising skills and more. Speakers will come from unions, Unite, academics, Job Watch and there will be a session where casual workers can quiz politicians from the major parties as to their policies for casuals.
Please spread news of this Conference far and wide via word of mouth, your email and web lists and any way at all.
Register now! By emailing Unite at [email protected] or phone (03) 96399111 or via our web site at www.unite.org.au
Venue: New Council Chambers, Trades Hall, cnr Lygon and Victoria Sts, Carlton South
Cost: $5 - or $4 if you register before the day - includes agenda, pack of information
Mark Latham makes John Howard look vulnerable. I get excited by the feeling that maybe the lying reactionary bastard is gone.
One recent opinion poll showed the ALP at 55% on a two party preferred basis. And for the first time in years the ALP‚s first party preference is over 40%. The latest had it at over 46%.
So why is Latham looking so good?
After seven years of reaction people want a real alternative. Howard offers nothing to working people - nothing on health, nothing on education, nothing on job security. The only positive he offers is lies - lies on refugees, lies on Iraq, lies on how he has made things better.
The talent of Latham is that he has given focus to the anger people have with the Tories. The trouble is, Latham is a Tory too.
Mark Latham will continue John Howard‚s agenda. That legacy is to attack refugees, to attack health, to attack education. And to warmonger.
Opportunity for all, says Latham. Except, apparently, refugees. Other exceptions will pile up. Like single mothers. And the unemployed. And the ill.
Latham‚s strategy in this election year is to emphasise his caring side. But he is an economic rationalist. He has decreed that any new spending must be paid for with spending cuts. Labor‚s razor gang is enjoying using the axe.
Latham says he wants more spending on health and education. This is good.
But the so far unarticulated message is that with benefits go responsibilities. Latham makes much of mutuality and responsibility. This is the same idea as Howard‚s - mutual responsibility. Howard‚s approach spawned the work for the dole failure. Latham will develop similar rubbish when in power.
The flip side of Latham is that he will attack working people, under the guise of responsibility.
There are hints of Latham‚s rationalist side coming through. He talks of slackers and workers. Slackers - an undefined Latham term - will be the next excision from Australian society.
For all his promises about making things better, Latham cannot offer real change. Australia‚s integration into the world economy will not allow it. First, the necessity to attract and keep capital will produce increased taxes on labour and lower taxes on capital. This is the response of all OECD Governments to globalisation. Latham will be no different.
Second, the squeeze on profit rates over the last thirty years - with the main capitalist responses being to cut social services, lengthen the working day and make us work harder - means the economy has no social surplus to provide real reforms. All the money is going to capital accumulation. To siphon some off for workers‚ health and education would threaten Australia‚s „competitiveness‰ and ability to attract capital. Hence user pays in health and education. Latham will continue that trend.
A Latham Government will be one of reformism without reforms.
Latham thinks that globalisation in its present form - the rampant multinational, beholden only to profit - is unstoppable. Such a process creates winners and losers. Change is in Latham‚s view inevitable and the role of the state is to ameliorate the effects of that change. But not, argues Latham, to rescue the slackers.
The chance is that when in Government Latham will say that those who are disadvantaged - the single mums, the poor, the unemployed, the sick - are per se slackers. It is the logic of his worship of globalisation and the profit accumulation process. It is the logic too of John Howard.
So bad luck all us Latham slackers when we lose our jobs, have a baby, or want to go to the doctor.
Latham simply cannot worship at the altar of capitalist globalisation and at the same time promise workers the world. It is one or the other.
Latham talks of a third way. It is an attempt to sound progressive while screwing workers. It is disguised Thatcherism.
The argument is that the globalisation of the economy means the old labour and capital division is irrelevant and with it the left/right distinction. Bill Clinton is a third wayist. So to is Tony Blair. Mark Latham will make them look like amateurs.
To understand Latham‚s rise, we need to understand the ALP. The trade union movement created the ALP. That relationship is changing.
Lenin described Labor as a bourgeois workers‚ party. The trend over the last thirty years has been for it to become more bourgeois and less worker oriented.
The ALP is the political expression of the trade union bureaucracy. That bureaucracy is not part of the working class. It balances between labour and capital. It depends for its existence on the continuation of the wages system. It negotiates. It compromises. It bows before the rule of capital.
So too the ALP - it manages capitalism. It does not and cannot challenge it.
Latham may try to break the links between the Labor Party and the trade union bureaucracy. We could see him turn the ALP, a party of social democracy, into the Australian equivalent of the American Democrats - the second party of US capital.
With an election this year, Latham is quiet on this. His previous writings certainly indicate this could be one of his long term aims. After all, if globalisation renders irrelevant the old left/right distinction it certainly makes a social democratic party passé.
Latham makes much of his working class background. In fact his work experience is not working class - but it is typical of an ALP hack. How could a man whose working life has been as a servant of the NSW Right - Whitlam, the machine, Carr, Liverpool Council and Federal Parliament - have any conception of the way working people live?
Latham talks about climbing the rungs of opportunity. For most workers this is impossible. The essence of capitalism is that workers create profit for the bosses. Without workers there can be no capitalism. So we cannot climb out of the working class. It doesn‚t matter how hard we work, not everyone can be a billionaire press baron.
A very few workers do move into the ruling class. Alan Bond went from Perth painter to billionaire. Then to prisoner. Now to millionaire. Is that what Latham is on about?
One way of making life better for workers is to fight for better wages and conditions.
The level of class struggle today is very low, destroyed in part by the Accord between the Hawke and Keating Governments and the union leadership.
The acquiescence of Labor to the Tory agenda may change if the ALP wins Government. The sell outs of Hawke and Keating remain fresh in many workers‚ minds. Latham with his rationalist agenda could be the spark that generates a move to the left industrially and eventually politically. That spark could lead to the creation of a genuine left committed to the overthrow of the rule of capital and the democratic rule of labour.
But for the moment the task is clear for the left - throw Howard overboard, but prepare to fight Howard‚s son.
Despite the fact that more than 10,000 innocent civilians were killed in the attack on Iraq, Australian PM, John HoWARd says he has „no regrets‰ and never will. Howard should be in no doubt about his popularity as opinion polls at home show he still has 51% support. But in reality, world opinion is against him. Billions of people, including world leaders, recognise the attack on Iraq was wrong; and he must be held accountable ˜ the world must never forgive or forget.
Howard lied about weapons of mass destruction; he lied about Iraq being an imminent threat and he continues to lie.
Australian involvement in the attack has been downplayed, but it should not be underestimated. Although only 2000 Australian troops took part, Australian airplanes dropped 46,000kgs. Ironically, Australians managed to target 3000 sites for bombing, but could not even identify one site used for weapons of mass destruction.
But it is not enough to call the war a „mistake‰. Because Australia has ratified the International Criminal Court (ICC), John Howard can and should indeed be held accountable and tried by the ICC.
Under the precedent set by the US in the Nuremberg trials after World War II, belligerents like Howard could be charged with a variety of crimes including war of aggression, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity.
The Australian administration is now trying to cover up its lies and deceptions. The Australian media has tried to portray our troops as heroes, but it has been difficult to convince the public that they deserve medals for an attack where most of those killed were women and children.
March 20th is the anniversary of the attack on Iraq and I encourage all those who marched against the war to attend memorial services and marches in respect for the innocent Iraq victims.
Has the recent flirtation of Frank Sartor with the philosophy of Buddhism*a major religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha or "enlightened one," who lived in Northern India at the foot of the Himalayas in the 6th century BCE. Unlike Frank ,and rejecting his luxurious upbringing, Siddhartha set out as a wandering ascetic ˜ a person who suffers severe physical hardships as part of his/her religious practice. Eventually Siddhartha rejected this extreme also, choosing what he called the "middle path" to enlightenment and freedom from life‚s pain. Opposed to violence and cruelty of any kind, the Buddha dined with "untouchable" outcasts and taught people to let go of attachments and illusion. Alas, is it possible that this conversion has come to an untimely fruition in recent times?
Or is it just a case of another fool persisting in pissing against the wind?
For more than 100 years the NSW Labor Council and a range of regional trades and labour councils have existed as discreet entities on the industrial landscape, individual unions affiliating to some or all of them, depending on political allegiance and coverage considerations.
In a time where regional economies and their labour markets were stable and constant, this made sense - local workers negotiated their own arrangements with the key employers in a region, such as BHP in the Gong, and ran political lines reflecting those priorities.
All that changed with the end of certainty, as some have dubbed the Hawke-Keating years, which saw the flight of established businesses from estab.lished centres - with the subsequent crisis in regional employment and the social dislocation that this precipitated.
To say that the regional network of trades and labour councils has been neglected is an understatement, like much regional infrastructure today many exist in name only.
The tragedy is the need for regional union bases have never been greater - the pressures on regional workers and their desire to be part of a broader union movement obvious to anyone prepared to dig the surface.
Indeed, the catalyst for the recognition of the South Coast Labor Council, really flows form the united action across the state in defence of workers compensation rights in 2001.
When the NSW Labor Council organised a statewide Sky channel meeting to discuss the changes - the big attendances where in the regions - across the states rural workers showed they were hungry to get involved and defend their rights.
Since then we've built on that momentum, increasing the use of rural media to raise union issues in the bush and commissioning focus groups into the attitudes of workers in key regional centres.
What will flow, from the current structural change, plus an internal recognition that unionism does not begin and end at the Sydney city limit, is a campaigning agenda that recognises the potential of the regions and develops strategic plans to rebuild unionism across the state.
That said, there is much that city unionists can learn from their country cousins, not least the way many country union offices have built and maintained a wide network of ties within their community.
So in integrating on terms that preserves their political autonomy, but brings their leadership into the NSW Labor Council, the SCLC is setting the benchmark for a process that should bring at least another three key branch council online in the coming years.
If this can be achieved, unionism in NSW will have made the transition from a number of regional and industry-based silos, to a true network of working people with the resources and commitment to work together for their mutual benefit.
One of the inevitable consequences of globalisation is that the focus of nation al economic activity moves from the nation-state to the regions.
In this world, it is vital for all workers, that their regions work together rather than against each other, entering a global auction where wages and conditions are in a race to the bottom.
We have already seen what happens when we ignore the regions, with the spread of country call centres exploiting what are effectively free trade zones within Australia's borders, we have allowed a cheap labour market to develop before our eyes
If we are to rebuild the workplace and challenge the current economic orthodoxy, so that economic growth works for our members not against them, it is vital we work together across the state.
This week NSW trade unions took the first tentative steps down this path.