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  Issue No 37 Official Organ of LaborNet 29 October 1999  





Lunchtime Sizzles as Workers Burn

Hundreds of Sydney office workers had a free lunch on the Labor Council this week when the Big Lunch Break highlighted the dangers of working long, unbroken hours.


To the breezy groove of DJ Ajax, workers took in massages, yoga demonstrations and information about the ACTU's reasonable hours campaign.

Labor Council secretary Michael Costa worked the barbecue with the help of resident superhero Mark Lennon, his slow grillwork ensuring workers had time to get the latest safety info from safety Watchdog Mary Yaager.

The day was so successful that Labor Council has decided to make the Big Lunch Break an annual event, with similar breaks planned for western Sydney and regional NSW.

Charter Pushes Working Hours

Meanwhile, a group of unionists have released a Working Time Charter in an attempt to put some meat on the ACTU's Work/Time/Life campaign

The document was prepared by officers of a range of unions to assist the discussion around the ACTU's jobs and working time campaigns. Comments are welcome and can be forwarded to Peter Murphy at [email protected]. or phone (02) 9211 4164.




We can create jobs and improve the quality of life by the reducing work stress, more fairly distributing working hours, ending excessive working hours and reducing the incidence of casual and contract work, and by better regulating such work.

Job creation also requires Government investment in education, training, and physical and social infrastructure, and an interventionist industry policy.

The following standards can be achieved through a combination of agreements, awards, and legislative change. These standards meet the needs of a modern economy, protect the interests of employees and open up opportunities for individual employees to exercise more control over their own working time arrangements. Implementing these standards will also create more safe and secure jobs.

1. Reasonable, Reliable, Reduced and Regular Hours

· Predictable hours of work for all workers including part time workers. Changes to working hours to be agreed by workers and their unions and properly monitored.

· Guaranteed minimum and maximum hours of work on a daily and weekly basis for all workers including part time workers and on an annual basis for all workers except where engagement for short-term projects or irregular work is essential.

· Establish by legislation and award, daily, monthly and annual limits on overtime and the provision for proper rest breaks. No more than 12 hours per day and 48 hours per week and no more than 160 hours overtime per year. Provision for two hours leave (which must be taken within six months) for every hour worked beyond such limits.

· Abolish unpaid overtime.

· Maintenance and improvement of penalty payments for all workers including part time workers, including for overtime, night, weekend, evening, and irregular work.

· Reduction in the standard hours worked by full time employees by 250 hours per year through increased portability of leave entitlements, improved leave entitlements (e.g. long service, study leave, family leave, an extra weeks annual leave), abolition of excessive overtime, or reduction of standard working week. This will initially be achieved through agreements at enterprise and industry level.

2. Portable and Secure Entitlements for All Workers

· Establishment of award leave entitlements for all workers including casual and part time workers (including: sick leave, family carers leave, annual leave, long service leave, bereavement leave, parental leave, study/training leave, trade union leave, jury service, blood donor leave).

· Establish, by agreement, trust funds for workers' entitlements to ensure that they get the entitlements even if they are short term or if the company goes broke, and support this through legislation.

3. More Jobs - Safe and Secure Employment for All

· Regulation of the use of casuals and contractors through creation of leave entitlements in awards and regulation of their use through agreements.

· Promotion of permanent employment and predictable hours through taxation and social policies. (This includes tax breaks and subsidies for training / apprenticeship and for employees who take career or study breaks, and making permanent employment a factor in letting contracts and tenders).

· Tighter legislative controls to prevent sham contracting arrangements, such as the Prescribed Payments System / PPS).

· Paid training leave for portable industry qualifications and the employment of additional apprentices to equip workers for workplace change through legislation, awards and agreements.

· Improved occupational health and safety - end dangerous hours - improved rights for worker health and safety representatives through legislation.

· Protection through organisation - Delegates' rights and access to union training in awards and agreements.

Adopted by the Future Directions in Labour Movement Politics initiative, July 9, 1999.


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 37 contents

In this issue
*  Republic: Yes, It's Time
Opposition leader Kim Beazley invoked the spirit of '72 when he launched the ALP's Republic campaign.
*  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.
*  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.
*  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.
*  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.
*  International: Wahid’s New Team
Indonesias new government is blemished by Suharto-era appointees but an advance for reform, says Indonesia’s trade unions.
*  History: They Fought Them on the Airwaves
Radio broadcasts were an important weapon in the long-running struggle for equal pay.
*  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.
*  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.

»  Ticket Machines Used to Spy on Workers
»  Vics Look North for IR Inspiration
»  Union Construct New Buildings for East Timor
»  Holy Sheet! Dirty Olympic Linen to Cost Jobs
»  Lunchtime Sizzles as Workers Burn
»  Carnivale Changes An Assault On Working Class Migrants
»  Child Carers Fight Christmas Lay-Offs
»  Spiderman Strikes as Women Sink Second Wave
»  Big Rail Fine Just Tip of Iceberg
»  Micky Mouse Union Blocked by Commission
»  Where Were You on November 6?
»  POSITION VACANT: MEAA Inquiry Desk Officer

»  Guest Report
»  Sport
»  Trades Hall
»  Piers Watch

Letters to the editor
»  An X for President - Feedback
»  Republican Soapbox
»  Education an Asset for All

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