Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 42 Official Organ of LaborNet 17 December 1999  




*  Interview: Costa Bravo
Labor Council�s chief trouble maker chronicles the battles of the past year and ponders those still to come.
*  Unions: More Wins Than Losses
Workers Online ranks the Top Ten industrial relations stories from a year of frenetic activity.
*  International: Eric Lee's Year in Review
The editor of Labourstart looks back over his favourite stories of 1999.
*  Politics: So Many Questions
It was a year in politics that threw up more questions than answers. We look at some of the sticky ones.
*  Republic: Referendum With Class
Labor heretic Michael Thomspson analyses the failure of the Republican proposition.
*  Environment: Seattle Kills Greens V Jobs Bogey
The sight of US unionists, environmentalists and human rights activists being attacked by police in Seattle shows how far the progressive movement has come.
*  Deface a Face: Give Him a Hairdo
What better present could Michael Costa offer Workers Online readers than the chance to give him a Deface a Face style make over?
*  Labour Review: What's New at the Information Centre
See the latest issue of Labour Review, our resource for officials, activists and students.
*  Review: Cultural Wasteland
Workers Online resident door-bitches Zanga and Paul pass judgement on the year that finished the millennium.

Deface His Face

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Workers Online - 2nd place Labourstart website of the year


Wobbly Radio


Young Workers Stake Their Claim

What Price Aussie Jobs as Olympics Loom
Young Australian workers are being bypassed by employers and the federal government in the lead-up to the 2000 Olympics, raising fears of a Games without hometown benefit.
[ Full Story » ]

TWU Activist Named Organiser of the Year
Former truck driver Bruce Penton has been awarded the Labor Council of NSW�s inaugural Organiser of the year for his work with the Transport Workers Union on the central coast.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Lock in New Years Eve Deals
Workers rostered on for New Years Eve will receive cash and other bonsues thanks solely to the activism of trade unions who have organised around the Y2K issue. We lay out some of the better deals.
[ Full Story » ]

'Scrooge' Destroys Staff Christmas
QBE Mercantile Mutual Ltd announced last weeek that it will sack 83 staff across Australia before Christmas.
[ Full Story » ]

Rule Changes to Restructure Council
The NSW Labor Council will alter its controversial property rule and restructure its leadership under proposed rule changes to be taken to its February 2000 Annual General Meeting.
[ Full Story » ]

The Great Salary Rip-Off
Hundreds of people working in large hotels are being short-changed thousands of dollars per year due to dodgy salary arrangements.
[ Full Story » ]

George to Kick Start NSW IR Reforms?
Outgoing ACTU President Jennie George could reignite stalled proposals to regulate labour hire and independent contractors.
[ Full Story » ]

Shaw Loses Key Advisers
Two of NSW Industrial Relations Minister Jeff Shaw�s key staffers will leave his office in the New Year to pursue careers in the law.
[ Full Story » ]

More New Faces at the New ACTU
Transport Workers Union federal assistant secretary Richard Marles is set to become the latest recruit to the New ACTU�s leadership team filling the assistant secretary vacancy.
[ Full Story » ]

Reith Second Wave Not Beached Yet
Unions are bracing for another assault on the industrial relations system in the new year, after the Australian Democrats blocked 13 of the 18 planks to the Howard Government�s second wave reform package.
[ Full Story » ]

Peace in the Gong
Warring factions within the Illawarra Labor Movement have finally made peace, setting the scene for a successful ACTU Congress to be held in Wollongong in June 2000.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers Support Register Gathers Steam
More than 250 people have signed up as members of a union activist shock troop, to help on pickets and major industrial campaigns.
[ Full Story » ]

Pay Equity Enters Campaign Mode
Women�s organisations and the NSW Labor Council have launched a Christmas campaign calling on the NSW government to implement the NSW Pay Equity Inquiry�s findings and recommendations to address the undervaluation of work done by women.
[ Full Story » ]

Union Aid Agency to Establish Dili Office
APHEDA � Union Aid Abroad will continue to play an important role in the ongoing development of East Timor with the establishment of an APHEDA office in Dili in December.
[ Full Story » ]

Job Vacancies at the LHMU
The Australian Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (National Office) has two vacancies in their Sydney Office.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Aquilina's Insult

  • Well Done 1999

  • US Union Site Worth a Look

  • Editorial

    A Year of Renewal

    It may not be a case of the tide turning, but there were enough encouraging signs in the Australian trade union movement in 1999 to suggest that we aren't necessarily drowning.

    The year started with a flurry of activity around working time, detoured onto the high moral ground of unpaid worker entitlements and ended with victory when Reith's Second Wave was dumped by the Democrats.

    Beneath all this activity flowed the undercurrent of organising, the strategic shift from top down unionism to grass-roots activism. Driven by TUTA's Michael Crosby, NSW unions led the way in changing their orientations fundamentally.

    New ACTU secretary Greg Combet succeeds Bill Kelty with the stated aim of driving this shift across the national union structures. If he can succeed, there is room for optimism within the movement for the coming years.

    Looking back on 1999, we get some clues about how to meet this challenge. The success of our work on the Internet underlines the importance of harnessing technological change to advance unionism, rather than looking at it as the enemy. And the work of TWU shows how traditional blue collar unions can make the step to an organising culture.

    While unions must continue to fight for the workers of the Industrial Age, it must also engage with the emerging information workers and accept that their interests and objective may be at odds with this traditional constituency.

    In a fragmenting labour market, there may not be a place for master plans; unions must be more concerned with reforming their internal processes so the interests of their members are represented and constantly engaged.

    All of which will require complex and flexible thought from the union's leadership, a pragmatism that accepts change as inevitable and the willingness to try different things. As we've said before - there's no one solution to the challenges of the information Age, just lots of little ones.

    Thanks to all readers for their support in 1999. It may one day be remembered as a seminal year for Australian unionism. Our challenge is to make 2000 an even better one.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    High Noonan for the Kelty The Workers Online 1999 Sport Awards Labor Council's Mambo #5 A Year With Satan's Beanbag



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