Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 39 Official Organ of LaborNet 12 November 1999  

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Letters to the Editor

[email protected] - Wasn't it Satire?


Suddenly it dawned on me. The usual headline Satire, warning us of what was to follow was missing from the Maguire column (Workers Online no. 37). I must admit for the first couple of paragraphs I didn't wake up but once I got to his comments on insider trading it clicked.

It must be satire because no pro union/worker article would point to corporate behaviour and the ASC as a model of rectitude which unions could happily follow. Or maybe it was Peter Reith in disguise as he has been pushing for unions to be regulated under the corporations law.

I reread it. Of course he was pulling our legs. Why else the blindingly obvious statement presented as a revelation that only union leaders haven't woken up to, that the structure of the workforce has changed? Why else would he equate monopoly status of unions in workplaces with 40% coverage at most and no representation in hospitality and information technology? Why else would he not mention the active campaigns by employers to lock unions out of such industries? Why else would he not mention the successes of unions in organising electronically in such workplaces?

Even funnier was his comment that the federal government should stop "mindlessly crippling" unions and instead have a financial registrar. Thanks, Pete, oops, I mean Paul, for the information that the incredibly complex Workplace Relations Act and the new wave of amendments to that act have been just a rush of blood and serious thought will now go into how to really cripple the unions. If you are not Peter Reith, I'm sure he will be giving you a call very soon.

Legislative reform is necessary, but maybe of the kind that would make it possible for unions to inform workers of their rights, and to defend and extend those rights. The current legislation makes it more difficult and the Maguire proposal would compound this by giving far more inquisitorial powers to regulators at a time when the ASC and industry bodies are actively pursuing self regulation for corporations. Transnationals are still actively pursuing the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) proposals to remove all hindrances to their operations. Wouldn't it be fun the have the grey accountants and corporate police diverted to spend their time investigating the small time accounts of unions rather than wasting time chasing the movement of global fund managers.

I'm sorry Paul Maguire left the union movement and now works as an employer. At least in the unions his sense of humour might have provoked a laugh. As an industrial relations advisor to employers, I'm sure the employees find him anything but funny.

Neal Towart


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*   Issue 39 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: Let Sleeping Dogs
Republican campaigner Jason Yat-Sen Li dusts off after Saturday’s vote. We ask him: where to now?
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*  Republic: Readers Speak - Kerry the Face to Deface
We asked and you have spoken; Sydney heiress Kerry Jones is the Workers Online choice for desktop doodling, as the official winner of our Defacement of a Nation competition.
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*  Economics: Understanding the Economy
Who was voted thinker of the millenium in a recent BBC Online poll? Karl Marx shooed it in. And another socialist, Albert Einsten, came second.
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*  Unions: Come Fly Away!
With just four weeks to go, Labor Council's Organiser of the year Award is up for grabs. We've only had the one entry ...
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*  Work/Time/Life: Better Times for Casuals in the Sunshine State
The Queensland Council of Unions has mounted a case in the Queensland IRC to increase wages for casual workers by up to $2.00 extra per hour.
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*  International: All Black Fate Looms for New Zealand Right
The New Zealand economic experiment – for many years the cherished role model of the Australian Liberal Party – is just about to face an angry jury.
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*  History: Who Remembers Egon Erwin Kisch?
Egon Erwin Kisch was a well known progressive journalist living in Germany when he was invited by the Australian branch of the world committee against war and fascism to speak at a conference in Melbourne in 1934.
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*  Review: Bizarrism - Strange Lives, Cults, Celebrated Lunacy
The strange story of Donald Crowhurst or how to cheat and become a God.
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*  Satire: Support Surges for Armenian Republic Model
The assassination by gun crazed extremists of the Armenian Prime Minister has been cautiously backed by Ted Mack and the Direct Electionist lobby as a possible new Republican model.
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News
»  First Social Audit Win For Rural Road Workers
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»  Y2K Bug Bites Rail Bookings
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»  Strikes Hit Schools - Before and After Class
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»  Olympic Uniforms Row Patched Up
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»  Charges to be Laid Over Gretley Disaster
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»  Jockeys Bucked On Compo
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»  Wag the Dog - Bosses Try the Back Door Strip
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»  Labour and Alliance Vow to Dump Contracts Act
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»  Bank Workers Win $3000 Payment for New Years Eve
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»  Union Organiser Thrown Off Bridge
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»  Justice at Last for Waterfront Asbestos Victims
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»  Timor Update: Positions Vacant; Upcoming Events.
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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
»  Fall of Communism as foreseen in 1931
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»  Reith an Error of Judgment
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»  Republic Post Mortem
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»  The Boston Strangler
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»  SOS From New York
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»  [email protected] - Wasn't it Satire?
*

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