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Issue No. 210 27 February 2004  

Rock Of Ages
The Howard Government’s response to Australia’s aging population - to make them work longer and harder – is a small minded response to a mind-blowing problem, a perversion of the discipline of demography.


Interview: Trading in Principle
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, a key figure in the Labor movement, discusses the big issues - from Mark Latham to Pavlov’s 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
Worker’s Online tool man, Phil Doyle, dives into the ALP’s 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 Australia’s 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.


 Siren Sounds on Asbestos "Scam"

 Youngsters Taken For A Ride

 Costello Necks Young and Old

 CFMEU Backs Redfern Jobs

 Della to Save Christmas?

 Time for Global Zone Out

 Equant's Pyramid Jobs Scheme

 Unions at Unis

 A Bridge Too Far

 Men Score Mat Leave

 Strikes Rock TAFE, Unis

 Health Maters To The Barricades

 Prison Officers Strike Back

 Activists 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.

 We Make Mistakes
 Taking The Piss
 Dear Mark
 Tom Goes Off I
 Tom Goes Off II
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Time for Global Zone Out

A major review of the effects of globalisation by the International Labour Organisation has targeted lawless Export Processing Zones as a hotbed of misery and exploitation.

The ground-breaking report by the ILO’s World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation 'A Fair Globalisation’ brings together the views of unions, employers and governments to warn the benefits of economic change are unevenly spread.

The World Commission report calls for better conditions for workers in Export Processing Zones, which employ in excess of 50 million workers worldwide, in countries as varied as the Dominican Republic and the Philippines - and on Australia's doorsteps in Fiji and Indonesia.

These are often a hotbed of anti-union activity, where fundamental trade union rights are denied to workers, most of whom are women, as the zones are often beyond the reach of national labour laws which may themselves be weak.

"It is high time that the international community supported us in our struggle for decent work in EPZs," International Council of free Trade Unions general secretary Guy Ryder says.

"We need to halt the "race to the bottom" that all too often dictates working life in EPZs where competition is based on poor labour standards and daily violations of fundamental rights"

The World Commission report underlines the essential role of collective bargaining in promoting productivity, ensuring equality and giving workers a voice at the workplace.

The report targets the responsibilities of the international institutions, like the ILO, and stresses the role they must play in ensuring that fair labour standards are not undermined.

"All organisations in the multilateral system need to deal with international economic and labour policies in a more integrated and consistent way as a foundation for economic development and social justice," Ryder says.

"This of course needs to be backed by an ILO which is equipped fully with the authority it needs to bring about respect for core labour standards. But the significance of this report is that it offers all of us the chance to make a new start on globalisation".

Read the report at:


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