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  Issue No 29 Official Organ of LaborNet 03 September 1999  

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Unions

Secret Herbs and Spices


Read KFC worker Claire Hamilton's speech to last week's Second Wave Rally.

 
 

Claire Hamilton at the Rally

I'm Claire Hamilton and I have worked at KFC for the past five years. I have also been union delegate for that long, to the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA). My employment at KFC is covered by a certified agreement, which was negotiated by the SDA with KFC to deliver the best possible conditions and rates of pay.

The proposed changes to the Workplace Relations Act will undermine the protection which unions deliver to employees and leave them, particularly younger employees, vulnerable to ruthless employers.

Australian Workplace Agreements also leave young employees vulnerable, as young people often lack the skills or confidence to bargain for conditions, and speaking with management can be intimidating.

If AWA's were to work alongside certified agreements, individual employees who are prepared to work for less than the rate specified in a certified agreement will get preference from management because they are cheaper in dollar per hour terms.

As a delegate to the SDA, it is my responsibility to ensure that all new employees are informed of the union and its services. But I don't do this alone. Due to the existence of a 'union encouragement clause' in our certified agreement, my managers inform new employees about the existence of the union, and that KFC is happy for employees to join.

Thanks to my managers, staff are aware of the union's presence, and my role is to answer any further questions they may have. Without the existence of a Union Encouragement Clause, young workers will be too scared to join a union.

My workplace has 80% union membership. This has nothing to do with anyone being forced to join - rather, young people cannot help but to see how useful and helpful it is to have a union represent you.

In a situation such as this - with 80% membership - under the proposed legislation my workplace and any workplace with over 60% union membership would be deemed a closed shop. So what happens then? Do the last 20% who joined the union have to revoke their membership and therefore their rights?

The vulnerability of young workers is highly underestimated. We need all the protection we can get.

This is just another example of how the Federal Government is disadvantaging young people.

YOUNG WORKERS ARE THE MOST VULNERABLE WORKERS.

Reith's attack on unionism is an attack on us.


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*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 29 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Activists: Virtually Here - Eric Lee
From the Kibbutz to cyberspace, Andrew Casey profiles the work of an Internet class warrior.
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*  Interview: Net Benefits
Sean Kidney has been combining business savvy with social justice for more than a decade. He gives us his take on unions and the Net.
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*  International: Dateline Dili
As the United Nations attempts to begin counting the votes from East Timorís independence referendum, the capital Dili is rapidly spiralling out of control.
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*  Unions: Secret Herbs and Spices
Read KFC worker Claire Hamilton's speech to last week's Second Wave Rally.
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*  Politics: Loosening Laborís Links?
Is Labor under Kim Beazley fundamentally changing its social appeal and turning itself into the Australian equivalent of Bill Clintonís Democrats?
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*  Labour Review: What's New at the Information Centre
Our regular update on papers and articles for union officials and students.
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*  History: Immigration, Racism and the Labour Movement
An upcoming conference asks some hard questions about the politics of immigration.
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*  Satire: Crime Figures Down: NSW Elections Postponed
The release of statistics showing decreasing crime rates has threatened to delay the next NSW election.
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*  Review: Trains of Treasure
A new CD of poems and songs pays tribute to our rich locomotive history.
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News
»  Workersí Savings to Bankroll Vizard Plan
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»  Dress Nazis: Undies, Jewellery in Uniform Code
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»  Clothing Farce: Only the Smalls are Home Grown
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»  Overseas Trip for Organiser of the Year
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»  State Transit Lodges Claim on Bus Drivers
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»  Compo Stats Donít Justify Slash and Burn
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»  Second Wave on Misos Menu
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»  Workers Rally To Protect Disabled Homes
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»  Carr Ministersí New Years Eve Betrayal
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»  Telstra Execs Doing Quite Well, Thank You
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»  Award Breach. Did Nike Just Do It?
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»  Unions Back League Class Struggle
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»  STOP PRESS: Images of Burma
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»  Musos, Authors in Joint Fundraiser
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Columns
»  Guest Report
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»  Sport
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Piers Watch
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Letters to the editor
»  Is Bevis a Butthead?
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»  More Vizard Feedback
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»  The Republican Soapbox
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»  Pensioners' Plea
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