||Issue No. 327||06 October 2006|
The Road to Bangalore
Interview: Cowboys and Indians
Industrial: Seven Deadly Sins
Unions: The IT Factor
Politics: Bargain Basement
Environment: An Inconvenient Hoax
Corporate: Two Sides
International: Unfair Dismissals
History: A Stitch in Time
Review: The Wind that Shakes the Barley
The Road to Bangalore
Rather than the normal story of hand wringing once the jobs have gone, the Australian public - driven by an unusual alliance of the unions and the tabloid media - is in danger of heading the shift off at the pass.
Currently major banks and Qantas are well advanced in plans to send their IT work to the high-tech theme parks that have proved adept in seducing western corporations with an English speaking workforce that will snaffle jobs paying about 25 per cent of the Australian wage.
This is no fishing expedition; these plans have been years in the making and, as far as we can see, the information was only shared with staff and the public as the eleventh hour approaches.
Now the corporate bean counters may push through regardless, but not without some significant collateral damage.
This is only corporate Australia's latest betrayal in the name of global profits.
After telling us that it was OK to lose our textile and manufacturing industries because we would have smarter IT jobs, the IT jobs are now under the gun.
Companies that trade on their Australian-ness as cheesily as Qantas and our leading banks, create a certain expectation amongst their customers. We are prepared to hum along with the anthems as long as give at least a show of repaying the jingoism.
But the current backlash suggests that we are not mugs, and that companies that rub the flag in our face and then shift jobs away will be punished harshly by the public's well-honed bullshit detector.
In a way you have to wonder what these companies are thinking - are they so driven by the bottom line that noone wonders whether the dumping of Australian jobs may undermine the multimillion marketing strategies.
And for anks handling sensitive private data like bank account and passport details, surely there was some sort of risk analysis around the issue of data security.
Not if revelations aired overnight by UK's Channel Four Dispatches are anything to go by. That show has found an organised network of ' Data farmers', trading in personal details stolen from these centres - where privacy laws lag far behind Australian regulations,
The Australian banks claim they continue to house data In Australia - but details are beamed into India where low wage workers chase up debt collections, process applications
Legislation proposed by unions and endorsed today by the ALP, requiring institutions to disclose where data is sent offshore, will also stem thee flow of jobs - because we know that customers will not cop it.
Meanwhile, the Howard Government has nowhere to go on the issue - the PM's glib refusal to comment on specific business decisions misses the point - Australian workers and consumers are being played like a song.
For the ALP it is another opportunity to frame the next federal elections around the divide that defines industrial relations; and it has nothing to do with xenophobia
That sell is pretty straight forward; it goes something like this: The Howard Government - governing for big business at the expense of working Australians and their families. Over to you, Kim
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