||Issue No. 266||03 June 2005|
An Act of Faith
Interview: The Baby Drought
Industrial: Lies, AWAs and Statistics
Workplace: The Invisible Parents
History: Bruceï¿½s Big Blunder
Politics: All God's Children
Economics: Spun Out
International: Shakey Trials
Legal: Civil Distrubance
Review: Crash Course In Racism
Poetry: You're Fired
The Locker Room
Remembering Workers In Cairns
Fair Go For Injured Workers
A Question Of Choice
Galahs Up The Cross
Howard Threatens Babies
Melbourne University academic Leslie Cannold told the Working NSW conference "Things Break Downï¿½ that her research into fertility decisions had led her to industrial relations.
Cannold, author of 'What, No Baby?' says much has been written about women's decisions to delay or not have babies, there was a growing realisation about the impact of work on men's contribution to the decision.
"Men are feeling like they have to work more intensely for longer hours - but its cashing out in ways that we didn't expect," Cannold says. "And one of the ways that it's cashing out is that its making men quite hesitant about having children."
Cannold says these personal choices are influenced by the broader economy - and will ultimately impact on our national economic well-being.
"There has not been a connection made in the minds of decision makers between the global forces of the economy in terms of downsizing and efficiencies and increased productivity and people's decision to commit to a family."
She is also concerned about the growing chasm at the workplace between workers taking the 'Daddy or Mummy Track' and choosing to limit their time and those workers who are childless and being expecting to work extra.
Rather than increased monetary benefits, Cannold sees the solution as limiting working hours for all workers - looking towards a 30 hour working week.
Kid's Suffer Most
Foundation Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies Don Edgar told the conference that it was the nation's children who were the real victims of labour market deregulation.
Accusing the federal government of 'hypocrisy of the highest level' Edgar says the focus on workers as economic units and not human beings was undermining 'family values.'
"It is my hope that the Trade Union movement will continue to argue the cause of family life, rather than the self-interest of unionists, and that this will produce a backlash against an uncaring oligarchy of economic rationalists at both the political and business level," Edgar says.
Endorsing those comments, Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said it this the first step to building a broad community alliance against the industrial relations changes.
"I have repeatedly said the changes to our industrial relations laws are not an attack on trade unions, they are an attack on the Australian way of life. Unions on their own, can not defeat these changes.
"What we can do is work with groups across the community and make the case for a different view of work, that sees working people as family members and members of the community.
"Together, we have a responsibility to explore a future for work that doesn't make people choose between having to be good parents and good workers, between being good citizens and good workers."
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