|Issue No 39||12 November 1999|
Strikes Hit Schools - Before and After Class
By Peter Moss and Peter Lewis
Five hundred striking school cleaners surrounded the Premier's office this morning to demand a moratorium on cuts to working hours, as teachers expanded their industrial campaign.
The 7am picket outside Governor Macquarie Tower was the first action in a three-day strike by 2,000 cleaners across NSW.
Earlier in the week, 16 mass meetings voted unanimously to strike after Public Works Minister Morris Iemma failed to step in and stop the cuts.
LHMU Secretary Annie Owens says the cleaners had no alternative with the Menzies Property Services company attempting to further cut working hours.
"Our members are being asked to clean a 30-student classroom in six minutes and a toilet in less than three minutes," Owens says.
"The cleaners take great pride in a job well done, but it is simply impossible to maintain standards if hours are cut further."
A Menzies supervisor who tried to prove that classrooms could be cleaned in six minutes had failed miserably. After 15 minutes the supervisor threw in the towel, without even turning on the vacuum cleaner.
"The Government's five-year cleaning contracts need to be reviewed," Owens says. "We are confident that a review will find that more funding has to be put into the cleaning of schools and other public buildings."
School cleaners have already suffered deep cuts since the Greiner Government sold off the Government Cleaning Service in 1994.
Teachers Vote for 24 Hour Strike
Meanwhile, public school teachers will lobby State ALP MP's directly after voting overwhelmingly to hold a 24 hour strike on November 18, will rallies to be held outside the offices of State MPs across the State.
Accusing the Carr Government of adopting the industrial relations practices of Peter Reith and Jeff Kennett, the teachers rejected the award that the Education Department has lodged in the Industrial Relations Commission.
"The award would reduce both the salaries and status of the teaching profession and jeopardise the educational futures of the young," the resolution passed at mass meetings across NSW says. "It is a deliberate insult to the teaching profession."
Noting that the teachers; Salaries and Status claim was first presented to the Minister 15 months ago, the resolution says the dispute can now only be resolved through a political process,
The meeting calls on the Carr Government to withdraw the award and enter into good faith negotiations with the teachers Federation.
If not, teachers will continue state wide action, with two-hour stoppages every two days between November 23 and the end of term.
The Federation will back its campaign with a paid publicity campaign, personal visits to Labor MPs and letters directly to parents explaining their situation.
The meeting also endorsed ongoing action by TAFE teachers.
Interview: Let Sleeping Dogs
Republican campaigner Jason Yat-Sen Li dusts off after Saturday’s vote. We ask him: where to now?
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.
Economics: Understanding the Economy
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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 ...
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.
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.
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.
Review: Bizarrism - Strange Lives, Cults, Celebrated Lunacy
The strange story of Donald Crowhurst or how to cheat and become a God.
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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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005