Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 33 Official Organ of LaborNet 01 October 1999  




*  Interview: The Boys
Labor Party heavyweights Eric Roozendaal and Damian O'Connor will lock horns this weekend. They fire their first shots.
*  Economics: Reasons to Be Cheerful
Can we change the way we look at the economy to better reflect community happiness and well-being?
*  Unions: Breaking the Wave
ACTU President's submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Workplace Relations Act.
*  International: The Wisdom of Solomon
A disturbing case from the Pacific where corporate lawyers are playing a deadly game.
*  History: Groundhog Day
Ghosts of Conferences past: some strangely familiar debates and decisions from previous state ALP conferences
*  Legal: Bad, Bad Things
Some of Australia's leading industrial lawyers argue that the Workplace Relations Act breaches basic international obligations.
*  Review: Tailing Out
As the BHP steelworks close in Newcastle a special book chronicles the stories of working live that have just become history.
*  Satire: Police Cut-Backs Lead To Drop In Organised Crime
An audit of the NSW Police has revealed that they have been seriously cutting back their operating budgets to ensure that they will be able to afford the increased security costs of the Olympics.
*  Work/Time/Life: It's Official: Aussies Work Harder
Australians continue to work long hours in contrast to a world-wide trend in industrialised countries that has seen hours at work remaining steady or declining in recent years.

The Boys

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Inside the Arena

Station Cuts Derailed - But More Hits for the Scull
NSW Transport Minister Carl Scully may have averted a Conference bunfight over his handling of rail reform, but council workers, bus drivers and road gangs are lining up to fire shots over his handling of his portfolio.
[ Full Story » ]

Social Audit Backed by Community Groups
Key community groups representing the welfare and community sectors have backed the Labor Councilís call for a social audit into the needs and distribution of government resources.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Take Common Priorities to State Conference
Trade unions representing almost 900,000 NSW workers have released a paper of priority issues that they want the ALP State Conference to address this weekend.
[ Full Story » ]

Simmering Discontent Hits Boiling Point
Staff at Sydney Water - in their first corporation-wide stoppage since 1995 - sent a clear warning that much, much more was to come unless management acted on employee concerns.
[ Full Story » ]

Public Sector Job Numbers Rubbery
Questions have been raised about the real number of public sector workers in NSW, with unions claiming there are a lack of reliable statistics.
[ Full Story » ]

Timor Protest to be Dumped in Reith Wave
The union at the forefront of recent Timor protests has made a direct plea to the Democrats to ensure it can remain the conscience of the Australian public.
[ Full Story » ]

Big Lunch Break for Stress-Free Day
A massive lunchtime picnic involving music, massages and other relaxation techniques will be the centrepiece of a union campaign to raise awareness about workplace stress.
[ Full Story » ]

Arch Apologises for Youth Wage Debacle
Federal Laborís industrial relations spokesman Arch Bevis has conceded the junior wages deal struck with the Howard Government was handled in an unsatisfactory matter.
[ Full Story » ]

Clean Air Policy Up In Smoke
The state government has been asked to delay the release of a hospitality industry passive smoking policy developed by the private sector because health and safety experts say it is inadequate.
[ Full Story » ]

Child Carers Stretched to the Limit
More than 60 per cent of child care workers do up to five hours of unpaid overtime every week. And two-thirds of workers say they are 'very stressed'.
[ Full Story » ]

Building Workers Wonít Settle for Half Pay
Building workers have set up a picket outside a new apartment building site in Brumby Street Surry Hills to demand payment of their wages by head contractor Samadi Constructions.
[ Full Story » ]

Life, Art and Politics
Life, art and politics have not always been ordered in that sequence for Eric Aarons. Politics, for many years, occupied a primary position in his life, but it is perhaps this primacy which has contributed to the distinctive style of his sculpture.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • More Transport News!

  • A Meaningful Contribution

  • Life is Cheap

  • Short Shots - Richo, Reithy

  • Editorial

    Dirty Tricks and Backdowns

    Attempts over the past week to paint trade unions as irresponsible out of touch ratbags have fallen in a sorry heap.

    As the tabloids wax venomous about "industrial bastardry" it has emerged the rail strike was orchestrated by management and the Minister.

    While the media's position was predictable, revelations that Carr Government staffers were working to orchestrate public anger through phony calls to talkback are unacceptable.

    They are symbolic of broader tensions simmering between the union movement and the state government in the lead-up to this weekend's ALP State Conference.

    On the one side, unions are talking for their members in arguing that the "reform at all costs to get a big budget surplus" has gone too far.

    On the other, the MPs comfortably ensconced in Macquarie Street for another four years wish they could just get on with governing without the pesky unions telling them what to do.

    Those same pesky unions are likely to make a bit of noise at the Conference - they will propose resolutions that challenge the government on issues as diverse as industrial relations reform, contracting out, competitive tendering and the distribution of resources across the community.

    The resolutions do not bind the Labor Government, but they are stark messages from the heartland that the Carr Administration will ignore at its own peril.

    Unions have channels of communication to the real world that bureaucrats and government staffers sitting in plush offices with six-figure salaries do not.

    As Jeff Kennett has learned recently, the view can seem very clear from the top of the hill.

    Without the input of working people, through an active trade union movement, the Labor Party becomes just another bunch of political whores - blowing between swinging voters and political doners.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    The Blood On Our Hands Greg Radley's Week That Was Costa on Factions Memo from HQ



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