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. 237 10 September 2004  

Bully Busting
No one likes a bully � and if the response to Labor Council�s bullying conference is anything to go by, there are more of these irritating creatures in Australian workplaces than ever before.


Interview: True Matilda
Former senior bureaucrat John Menadue coordinated the group of 43 calling for truth in government; and now he has bigger fish to fry.

Politics: State of Play
Are all political parties the same? Workers Online tries to cut through the jargon to compare the major parties' approaches to key policy areas.

Industrial: Capital Dilemmas
Public Private Partnerships amount to privatisation by stealth. Or do they? Jim Marr investigates.

Unions: Rhodes Scholars
Tim Brunero discovers how the Electrical Trades Union is doing its best to ease the national apprentice crisis.

National Focus: Rennovating the Lodge
Noel Hester previews how unions will be fighting the federal election - on the ground and online.

International: People Power
Over the next four years there is a real potential a major struggle will take place for workers� rights and the creation of truly democratic unions in China., writes Andrew Casey

Economics: A Bit Rich
Who Gets What? Why? And So What?, Frank Stilwell reviews the BRW's Rich List

History: Mine Shafts
It's 25 years since Nymboida passed the baton to United, writes Peter Murray

Safety: Sick Of Fighting
Former RAAF engineers could be sitting on a health time bomb, Tim Brunero reports.

Organising: Building a Wave
Community groups, unions and social movements all practice organising, wrties Tony Brown and Amanda Tattersall.

Poetry: Anger In The Bush(es)
How dare any Liberal suggest that the Prime Minister is a lying rodent! Resident bard David Peetz reports on the outrage that this slur has justifiably caused.

Review: The Battle Of Algiers
Tim Brunero writes The Battle of Algiers is a coldly objective, almost scientific anatomy of revolution.

Culture: The Word On The Street
Phil Doyle reports on how the Australian working class experience lives on through the words of the remarkable Geoff Goodfellow.


 Position Vacant for Bully

 Reality Dawns on Delta

 Stink Rises from Dunnies

 Girl Power Slays Oil Giants

 CFMEU on Highway to Hell

 Super Deal for Mums

 Millionaires Pay Peppercorn Wages

 Hardie Fighters Go Dutch

 Exporting Your Bank Details

 Teachers In Crossfire

 Strikers Unplug Western Power Play

 Health Changes Shift Barrier

 Meredith and Me

 Activists What's On!


The Soapbox
Hail to the Metro-Sexual!
If the cultural shift required in the workplace to give greater security to working families was broadly accepted the ACTU would not be locked in an adversarial Work and Family test case argues Sharan Burrow.

The Westie Wing
In his latest missive from Macquarie Street our resident Parliamentary commentator, Ian West, walks us through issues around the PBS.

How Bush Lost His Wings
Tracking the National Guard Career of the Fatuous Flyboy from New Haven, Jeffrey St Clair.

The Locker Room
The Name of the Game
Phil Doyle wonders whether we are barracking for the sponsor or the team.

Women to Women
APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad is working to create opportunities for Palestinian women living in Lebanese refugee camps.

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



Bully Busting

No one likes a bully � and if the response to Labor Council�s bullying conference is anything to go by, there are more of these irritating creatures in Australian workplaces than ever before.

A survey conducted to coincide with the conference found three in every four workers reported having been subjected to bullying in the workplace.

Scratch the surface and you discover that this is not a just an outbreak of cruel individuals, it is a growing phenomenon linked to the way our workplaces are organised.

When questioned about bullying, the concept quickly becomes mixed in with issues of stress and harassment, the terms merge until they become almost interchangeable, adding up to a psychologically dysfunctional workplace.

The difficulty with bullying and its cousins is that, unlike physical safety risks on construction sites, factories or farms, psychological risks are often hard to pin down and only proven when the risk becomes an injury.

How do you conduct a check of a workplace to ensure it is psychologically safe; how do you identify hazards, how do you mitigate risks?

As the speakers at this week's conference repeated, it is all about the management of personal relationships - whether it is the worker bullied by unreasonable workloads or the apprentice bullied in the initiation ceremony, bullying speaks to a breakdown of dignity at work.

It is this thinking behind Labor Council's response - to promote a positive agenda embodied by its 'Dignity at Work' charter. The charter recognises that bullying is a symptom of alienation in the workplace and that the way to address bullying is to get everyone working together.

It is at this point that bullying sits within a broader analysis of what is happening to our workplaces, driven by the labour market deregulation agenda.

The breaking down of central rules at work in favour of managerial prerogative occurred hand in hand with the management by fear technique that US CEOs like Chainsaw Al Dunlap made his own.

Indeed, the two ideas - slash and burn management and labour market deregulation were cooked up in the same think tanks in the eighties.

Twenty years on, we have the majority of workers feeling squeezed; in terms of hours, finances and also work relations.

In this election campaign we are hearing a lot about family friendly hours and family tax cuts, but it is the third element - dignity at work, that the major parties have the most significant policy differences.

When the Prime Minister talks of more 'IR' reform, he is really talking about getting rid of even more limits to managerial prerogative; when Labor promises to restore balance, it is dignity of workers that will be the winners.

Amidst the clouds of terror and interest rates it may be a hard message to cut through, but for the 75 per cent of the workforce who feel bullied, pushed and generally put under the psychological pump, the choice is a real one.

Any teacher will tell you the schoolyard bully is a victim of his or her environment. The workplace bully is no different - and it in John Howard's workplace that they have continued to thrive.

Peter Lewis



*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 237 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