||Issue No. 247||19 November 2004|
In Defence of Jeff
Interview: The Reich Stuff
Economics: Crime and Punishment
Environment: Beyond The Wedge
International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Politics: Labo(u)r Day
Human Rights: Arabian Lights
History: Labour's Titan
Review: Foxy Fiasco
Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
The Locker Room
Shawly we’ve heard enough
Decline of The American Empire
Commuter Champ Backs Workers
On the eve of the state government’s capitulation to people power, Carlingford legal secretary, Rebecca Turner, "thanked God" for the trade union movement.
"Unions are there to protect workers and if management and the government are not going to stick up for us then thank God the union movement is," Turner said.
She was speaking after winning enthusiastic support from 500 building workers for her civil disobedience campaign that would have seen commuters refuse to pay fares on Monday, November 22.
Turner's comments pulled the final plank from the state government's strategy of trying to blame rail workers for the system's chronic unreliability.
The day after she spoke, Premier Bob Carr tried to trump her campaign, by announcing fares would be abolished for the day.
NSW rail workers had taken to platforms across Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast to hand out 50,000 fliers explaining they weren't to blame for the city's train woes.
Unions NSW said some commuters stopped to help the workers hand out the leaflets, which blamed RailCorp management for poor train services.
"If you think it's bad being a rail commuter, try being a rail worker - we are all in this together," the fliers read.
Transport Minister Micheal Costa had threatened to fine commuters who failed to buy tickets on the day of action.
Before the government's announcement over 20,000 unionists from the CFMEU and FSU had pledged their support for the Turner's action, with the offering legal advice to members if they were fined..
Turner, who meet with Unions NSW secretary John Robertson last week began her campaign on the 11th of November, and was dubbed "Captain Commuter" by Sydney media.
"What are they going to do if thousands of people turn up at Town Hall and demand to be let out? They can't fine everyone," she said.
"Imagine what we as commuters can do if we threaten to cost the Government millions of dollars in lost revenue."
Turner has set up an e-mail account - [email protected] - to gather support for the cause.
Other angry commuters have begun a protest website at www.shityrail.info
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