Workers Online
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  Issue No 37 Official Organ of LaborNet 29 October 1999  

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News

Ticket Machines Used to Spy on Workers


The State Rail Authority has been accused of breaching privacy laws by using electronic data received from station ticket machines to take disciplinary action against rail workers.

Rail unions say ten workers had faced disciplinary action, including the threat of dismissal, after being accused of leaving work early or arriving late.

They say SRA management used electronic data from internal security keypads and data obtained from automatic station barriers that record the time and date that employees' travel passes are used.

The Australian Services Union and the Rail Bus and Tram Union have both taken up the issue, concerned that the data is being used to collect large amounts of information that could monitor staff as well as the general public.

Labor Council secretary Michael Costa says while unions could not condone workers leaving shifts early, it was totally inappropriate for management of government entities to be using technology in this way.

A spokesman for NSW industrial relations minister Jeff Shaw says the secret monitoring of electronic data is contrary to the principles contained in the new Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act. However the timing of the commencement of this legislation could make a prosecution difficult.

ASU official Gary Sergeant told Labor Council that five of the workers have been cleared of charges, but the other five are still facing disciplinary proceedings.

He says that when the technology was introduced, workers were assured it would not be used against them in this manner.

More Sick Tactics

Meanwhile, workers at the National Rail Corporation who call in sick for work, are being picked up by a company funded taxi taken to a company funded doctor to check their bona fides.

The practise is one of a range of tactics being used against workers, looked in dispute with the NRC, controlled by the Commonwealth, NSW and Victorian Governments.

Members of the Rail Tram and Bus Union have been looked in enterprise bargaining talk for the past 10 months, culminating in a strike on October 22.

RBTU divisional president Bob Hayden says the company has responded to the strike with a series of inflammatory actions including: ceasing payroll deductions, refusing to allow members to commence annual leave, cancelling previously approved trade union leave for delegates and the taxi-ing of sick workers.

The Labor Council has agreed to take the issue up with one of the three shareholding ministers, NSW Transport minister Carl Scully.


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*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 37 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Republic: Yes, It's Time
Opposition leader Kim Beazley invoked the spirit of '72 when he launched the ALP's Republic campaign.
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*  Interview: What Price a Just Republic?
Magistrate Pat O’Shane is far from happy with the republican model. But she still believes a Yes vote is her best chance for genuine constitutional reform.
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*  Economics: Who the EFIC are you?
If you have not heard of Export Credit Agencies, don't be surprised because it seems they're not too interested in letting the public know what they do.
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*  Unions: Old Habits Die Hard
With the release of its blue print [email protected] the ACTU seems to know where it wants to go. But again it has failed to face up to the underlying structural issues preventing it from getting there.
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*  Legal: Second Wave: Reith's Non-Right to Strike
Peter Reith has called his new laws the Workplace relations Amendment (More Jobs Better Pay) Bill 1999. If legislation is to carry these new, colloquial titles then the ‘More Control, Less Freedom’ Bill would be a better title.
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*  International: Wahid’s New Team
Indonesias new government is blemished by Suharto-era appointees but an advance for reform, says Indonesia’s trade unions.
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*  History: They Fought Them on the Airwaves
Radio broadcasts were an important weapon in the long-running struggle for equal pay.
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*  Satire: Revealed: SOCOG Reserving Gold Medals for Tattersalls
The scandal over the secret allotment of premium tickets for the 2000 Olympics escalated today with the news that members of Sydney’s elite Tattersall’s Club will receive Gold Medals without actually competing.
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*  Review: What The Age Wouldn’t Print
Some time before Monday 18 October, Age editor Michael Gawenda saw red and then got out his blue pencil. An article, heavily critical of Robert Manne, written by Overland editor Ian Syson, was pulled by Gawenda.
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News
»  Ticket Machines Used to Spy on Workers
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»  Vics Look North for IR Inspiration
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»  Union Construct New Buildings for East Timor
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»  Holy Sheet! Dirty Olympic Linen to Cost Jobs
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»  Lunchtime Sizzles as Workers Burn
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»  Carnivale Changes An Assault On Working Class Migrants
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»  Child Carers Fight Christmas Lay-Offs
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»  Spiderman Strikes as Women Sink Second Wave
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»  Big Rail Fine Just Tip of Iceberg
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»  Micky Mouse Union Blocked by Commission
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»  Where Were You on November 6?
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»  POSITION VACANT: MEAA Inquiry Desk Officer
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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
»  An X for President - Feedback
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»  Republican Soapbox
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»  Education an Asset for All
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