Courting Public Opinion
This weekend marks a significant step forward in the evolution of union campaigning, with the launch of $8 million in advertising to hit the Howard Government where it hurts – in the lounge rooms of middle Australia.
Interview: The Baby Drought
Social ethicist Leslie Cannold has delved into why women - and men - are having fewer children. And it all comes back to the workplace.
Industrial: Lies, AWAs and Statistics
David Peetz uncovers the truth behind the latest statistics on earnings under Australian Workplace Agreements.
Workplace: The Invisible Parents
Current government policies about work and family do not reflect the realities of either family life or the modern workplace. writes Don Edgar.
History: Bruce’s Big Blunder
The Big Fella, Jack Lang, gives an eyewitness account of the last time Conservatives tried to dismantle Australia’s industrial relations system.
Politics: All God's Children
The battle for morality is not confined to Australian polittics. Michael Walzer writes on the American perspective
Economics: Spun Out
The business groups are feeling cocky. The feds have announced their IR changes, business says they don't go far enough. What a surprise, writes Neale Towart
International: Shakey Trials
Lyndy McIntyre argues the New Zealnd IR experiment provides warnings - and hope - for the Australian union movement.
Legal: Civil Distrubance
Tom Roberts argues that there is more at stake than an attack on building workers in the looming legsilation.
Review: Crash Course In Racism
Paul Haggis flick Crash suggests that when cars collide the extent of people's prejudices are revealed sans the usual veil of political correctness, writes Tara de Boehmler.
Poetry: You're Fired
New laws will leave bosses holding the whip and workers with a Raw Hide, writes resident bard David Peetz
Andrews Bends Over for Big End
Boeing, Boeing Gone
Cobb & Co Punt Parkes
Corporates Arm Firing Squad
Quad Gets the Brush
Practical Joke Costs Police
Unions Target Soap and Grunt
US Backs Terrorists
Royalty Held Hostage in WA
Bad News Rising On AWAs
Workers Exercise Choice
Howard Scores Own Goal
Activists Whats On!
The Locker Room
Ashes to Dust
In which Phil Doyle travels to distant lands in search of a meat pie, and prepares for the joys of sleep deprivation
The Westie Wing
Ian West lists the Top Ten reasons why workers in NSW can gain some solace from having the Labor Party sitting on the Treasury benches…
Wandering In The Wilderness
In response to this year’s Federal Budget, Bishop Kevin Manning wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, Mr John Howard
Once Upon A Time In America
The Truth Is Out There
Cash Cow On Private Tax Farm
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Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
Unions Target Soap and Grunt
Viewers of soap operas and footy games will be given a wake up call on the impact of federal industrial changes when the ACTU launches an $8 million advertising campaign this week.
The TV and radio advertisements, to run in all capital cities and regional areas, are designed to raise awareness that the human costs of the work changes.
The advertisements show how taking away rights to unfair dismissal can wreak havoc on Australian families and how individual contracts will undermine job security and take home pay.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow says research shows that few Australians were aware of the changes being proposed - but that once they understood the changes they overwhelmingly opposed them.
"Now that he has control of the Senate John Howard is trying to take away workers' rights by pushing through complex legal changes with little public debate," Burrow says.
"The challenge for unions is to make the public aware about what is at stake and hold the government accountable for this attack on working families."
The advertising campaign will be backed by action in workplaces and communities around the nation, as unions mobilise opposition to the changes.
"Making work less secure impacts on families and the community. These laws are not just an attack on unions they are and attack on the living standards of every Australian worker. They would be a backward step for working families at a time when many of them are already struggling just to keep their heads above water", Ms Burrow said.
The workplace changes announced by the Federal Government include plans to:
- Abolish protection from unfair dismissal for 3.6 million workers employed in companies with less than 100 staff
- Allow employers to put workers onto individual contracts that cut take-home pay and reduce employment conditions to only 5 minimum standards - workers who refuse to sign may fear being sacked
- Change the way minimum wages are set to make them lower
- Effectively abolish the award safety net and replace it with just 5 conditions - a minimum hourly rate of pay (currently $12.75), 8 days sick leave, 4 weeks annual leave, unpaid parental leave and weekly working hours. Many workers will lose conditions like weekend, shift and public holiday rates; overtime; redundancy pay; allowances; and casual loadings.
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