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. 213 19 March 2004  

Pay For View
While the ABS latest figures show union density is stable, behind the headline rate of 23 per cent lie some interesting trends.


Interview: Baby Bust
Labor's Wayne Swan argues that the plight of our aging workforce is only one side of our demographic dilemma.

Safety: Dust To Dust
Failure by authorities to police safety in the asbestos removal industry is threatening the lives of members of the public, writes Phil Doyle.

Bad Boss: Shaming in Print
Delegates from print shops around Sydney will publicly shame this month’s Bad Boss nominee with a rally outside his new Alexandria operation next Thursday.

National Focus: Work's Cripplin' Us
Noel Hester reports on a spin doctors' talkfest, workplace pain, stroppy teachers and IWD party time in the national wrap.

International: Bulk Bullies
An extraordinary five month struggle over affordable health care, by nearly 70,000 Californian supermarket workers, has just come to an end, writes Andrew Casey.

History: The Battle for Kelly's Bush
Green Bans saved a piece of bush before they saved much of the Sydney’s built environment, writes Neale Towart

Economics: Aid, Trade And Oil
Tim Anderson reveals Australia’s second betrayal Of East Timor is playing out before our eyes.

Review: The Art Of Work
Workers and westies are being celebrated as the cultural icons they are thanks to two Sydney exhibitions reminding us there is a world of art in the everyday, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Sew His Lips Together
Wondering where the next porkie is going to come from? Resident bard David Peetz knows.


 "Grubs" Derail Revolution

 Blackouts Hit Sydney

 Pig-Out at Restaurant

 Smith’s Charity Begins At Work

 Air Rage Set To Soar

 Boxers Union Lands First Blow

 Drug Tests On Hold

 "Anarchy" Warning from Builders

 Burmese Generals at it Again

 Sugar: Sweet Taste of Survival

 Workers Endorse "User Pays"

 State Water, Forests Face Sell-Off

 Pirates and Ports for Classroom

 Activists What's On!


The Soapbox
Iraq and Your Mortgage
How high interest rates go will be a key issue in 2004 and if you are looking for a clue, there's no better place to look than the war in Iraq, writes Michael Rafferty.

Hang Onto the Day Job
Show someone else the money, says Phil Doyle.

Westie Wing
Ian West shows why Eveleigh Street’s not so far away from Macquarie Street

Don’t Give Up the Fight
Get Up, Stand Up is the logo of choice on a popular range of subversive condoms. Ken Davis from Union Aid Abroad reports from Zimbabwe’s second city

 Grubby Poseur
 Tom On Drink
 Howard Screws Vets
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



"Anarchy" Warning from Builders

Queensland Master Builders have slammed Federal Government plans for the building industry as a "recipe for industrial anarchy".

The Queensland organisation broke ranks with Master Builders nationally, refusing to support a cornerstone of the proposed Building and Construction Industry Improvement Bill, that would ban pattern bargaining.

"Wage justice has long been defined as circumstances where workers doing identical work in close proximity to one another receive identical remuneration, wherever practicable," The Queensland Master Builders told a Senate Inquiry.

"A system that encourages individual employers to pay differing wages to workers performing similar tasks on the same site, is a recipe for industrial anarchy and cannot be supported."

Bill architect and former Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott, has hung his political hat on banning pattern bargaining, insisting that unions sign "genuine" separate agreements on wages and conditions with every contractor and sub-contractor on each site.

He has gone as far as to withhold millions of dollars in Federal funds from infrastructure projects because head contractors had signed pattern, or project, agreements with building unions.

But Queensland employers say the system won't work for reasons of justice and practicality.

"The industry has continued to negotiate pattern agreements within certain parameters as a deliberate strategy to minimise industrial disruption," it says.

It warns that under Abbott's "genuine enterprise bargaining" the most industrially vulnerable parties would be at extreme risk.

For similar reasons, the Queensland MBA defends project agreements and current union methods of determining whether or not to take industrial action.

"Master Builders strongly supports a revamped industrial relations system that provides for registered project agreements to cater for the specific needs of the BCI (building and construction industry)," it says.

It dismisses Federal Government proposals to demand pre-strike ballots as "lunacy".

While the submissions represent a break with the pro-Government line of its national organisation. Queensland MBA strongly supported the proposal for a third party to police the industry.

It lamented the success of last year's industrial campaign, spearheaded by the CFMEU and ETU, as "the worst period of industrial disputation ever witnessed by the commercial sector".

Master Builders told the inquiry unions has won "above community standard" settlements on wages, working hours, travel allowances, super payments and redundancy insurance.

The national Master Builders Association, which has aggressively supported the Bill, admitted to the Senate Inquiry it had hired its Industrial Relations Director straight from Abbott's office without advertising the position.

Howard in Dock

Meanwhile, the ILO will examine an official complaint that the Bill violates basic labour freedom.

The ACTU has told the International Labor Organisation that proposed legislation will seriously restrict the ability of Australian building workers to bargain collectively.

"The ACTU is seeking a determination from the ILO as to whether the proposed law is in contravention of Australia's international human rights obligations," president Sharan Burrow confirmed.

The ILO was established by the United Nations to oversee human rights and international agreements as they apply to workplace issues.


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 213 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