||Issue No. 290||18 November 2005|
The Long March
Interview: Public Defender
Legal: Craig's Story
Unions: Wrong Way, Go Back
Politics: Queue Jumping
History: Iron Heel
Economics: Waging War
International: Under Pressure
Poetry: Billy Negotiates An AWA
Review: A Pertinent Proposition
The Locker Room
What lucky country
Swimming with Sharks
Save Our Culture
Jo Jacks Up
"I've never been politically active before," she says. "I've never been part of a political party or particularly politically aware."
The mother of one and part time manager of a Penrith day care centre addressed a Nov 15 Day of Action meeting.
"I'll be going from middle class with pretty good money to working class, which will be a full on struggle despite my tertiary qualifications," says Jacobson about the new laws.
And out in Glen Innes in outback NSW, electricity linesman Phil Shannon watched over 100 people turn up for the biggest thing he has ever organised.
"Even a couple of retirees turned up asking if it was OK for them to join in," he says.
Both have been kicked into action by the threat Howard's new IR laws poise for them and their communities.
"Only two people turned around and said Howard was doing a good job," says Shannon of the day a week or so before the November 15 telecast when he handed out over 200 pamphlets about the new laws, adding the next time he organises such a protect he better use the RSL rather than the local tavern.
"Four months ago no one knew what industrial relations was," says Jacobson. "I've been very lucky in that with all of my jobs I have been protected by an award and had very good conditions. I have never needed to be a member of a union."
"Unfortunately not many people are knowledgeable about their awards either."
Despite widespread interest in the Sky Channel hook up, Shannon says quite a few people in his town were actively discouraged from attending.
"A boss from the RTA stuck his head in just to see who was there," he says, adding that one young female worker at the local hospital received a letter warning her not to attend and the local council only allowed a handful of its employees to go.
But as he and Jacobson have discovered, a lot of people still don't want to believe the big changes around the corner will affect them.
"A lot of people don't understand it and they don't want to," says Jacobson. "You say this will affect everyone and they look at you with this incredulous look."
"I have talked to kids who work at BiLo and KFC," says Shannon. "They tell me it doesn't affect them because they are only going to have these minimum wage jobs until they finish school. But I say to them, look, these changes are going to kick in once you are at university. They don't really understand as they are new to the workforce."
"People are busy with their work and families," says Jacobson. "They think they are going to be OK, particularly when you have got Government information packages saying 'Protected By Law'."
"I've told my in-laws about how the changes will effect the pension," says says. "Once the IR laws change, they will not have the increase you have had in the last nine years. History has shown that if Liberal governments had had their way you would be $50 a week worse off. This is what is going to happen with the Fair Pay Commission."
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