As our athletes approach the starting line in Athens, it is interesting to reflect on how the world has changed since Sydney was the centre of a global group hug just four years ago.
Interview: Trading Places
New ACTU International Officer Alison Tate cut her teeth delivering aid to developing nations through APHEDA. Now she is helping chart the global union agenda.
Safety: Snow Job
James Hardie has been drilled into our collective consciousness as a story of power, greed and immorality. It is also, as Jim Marr reports, a tale of human tragedy.
Politics: In the Vanguard
Damien Cahill reveals how neo-liberal think tanks have been at the forefront of the corporate assault upon trade unions and social movements in Australia.
Unions: Gentle Giant Goes For Gold
Don’t get between Sydney sparkie Semir Pepic and a gold medal in a dimly lit alley, writes Tim Brunero.
Bad Boss: 'Porker' Chases Blue Ribbon
Perfect Porker, Darren Vincent, brings a history of meat worker shafting to this month’s Bad Boss nomination.
International: Cruising For A Bruising
Europe’s big unions are bruised as they watch companies roll over some of their best-organised unionised workplaces demanding longer work hours – without any recompense, reports Andrew Casey.
History: Under the Influence
Was John Kerr drunk when he wrote and signed the letter dismissing Edward Gough Whitlam from the Prime Ministership in 1975? Geraldine Willissee investigates.
Economics: Working Capital
Where superannuation fits, where it fails and what we should we do about it. Neale Towart gives the tough answers.
Review: Fahrenheit 9/11
There's many a must see moment in Mike Moore's new flick but beating the propaganda machine at its own game wreaks havoc with wearied bullshit detectors, writes Tara de Boehmler.
Poetry: Bad Intelligence Rap
When Flood washed away the PM's sins, the truth was once again left high and dry.
Satire: Osama Bin Manchu
During a recent visit to an elderly relative in a nursing home, I was waylaid by an ancient gentleman who insisted I listen to what he had to say, writes Rowan Cahill.
Stink Rises from Hamberger
ALP Embraces Collectivism
Bully Drives Deckhand into Drink
Fighter in Cancer Link
Tunnellers Dig in for Safety
Seconds Out in Newcastle
Vale Josh Heuchan
"Betrayal" Sparks Election Rethink
Councils Wedge James Hardie
Great Southern Death Rattler
Libs Desert "War Criminal"
Casuals Take Over
ALP Star Hits The Waterfront
Activists What’s On!
The Westie Wing
The Labor Governments in each State must take the lead to stop the abuse of corporate law in Australia in the absence of action from the Federal Government, as the Inquiry into James Hardie’s has highlighted, writes Ian West.
Cleaners Deserve Our Support
It's time the state's cleaners were given some support, loyalty and long service leave, writes Chris Christodoulou.
The Locker Room
Half Time At The Football
Phil Doyle wants to have his pie and eat it too.
Frank Mossfield was one of the labour movement’s quiet achievers. Former Labor Council secretary Michael Easson pays tribute.
An Officer And A Teacher
Lessons From East Timor
Just back from a study tour to East Timor, National Reserach Officer with the Construction division of the CFMEU, Ben Stirling, writes about the experience for Workers Online.
Tom Goes Asexual
Road Rage At Work
Democracy In Action
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Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
Seconds Out in Newcastle
Workers in Telstra’s busy Newcastle call centre get only seconds away from their headsets during casual shifts.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has raised concerns about Choice HR allowing only a few seconds break every hour for the 100 labour hire employees it contributes to the Newcastle operation.
The CPSU has lodged a dispute with the Industrial Relations Commission, claiming staff are being exposed to unsafe and unfair work practices.
Telstra's use of labour hire means operators sitting alongside one another are on different sets of conditions.
Local union members have organised a petition against the unsafe breaks policy.
Choice staff work alongside Telstra employees whose union-negotiated agreement provides for proper breaks every 70 minutes.
When the CPSU took staff concerns to Choice HR recently, the company stood by its guidelines, which the CPSU claims would be unacceptable at virtually every other Australian call centre.
According to CPSU Communications Division Secretary, Paul Ingwersen, the difference in rest breaks between the Telstra employees and labour hire staff is "completely unacceptable".
"What Choice HR is doing is unsafe and we will pursue this matter until all staff receive adequate rest breaks," says Ingwersen. "We think it's quite reasonable that labour hire employees get similar breaks. There's absolutely no justification for the Choice HR policy that a few seconds break every half hour is sufficient.
"All the health and safety guidelines say that you have to have regular and frequent breaks. We've taken a stand on this issue."
The CPSU also believes these practices have implications for Telstra customers.
"Under these arrangements, some staff are going to be more fatigued than others when dealing with enquiries and complaints," says Ingwersen. "To guarantee quality service for customers, surely it is in Telstra's interest to ensure that everyone doing call-centre work for them gets decent, regular rest breaks."
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