|Issue No 47||24 March 2000|
Paul Howes on Costa’s Campus Tour
The Labor Council Secretary's Campaus Tour showed athe differing cultures of Sydney's unis - as well as some common themes
The forums, titled "The Bald Truth, Politics in the Information Age" were held at Sydney University, UNSW, UTS and UWS, organised by the National Union of Students and promoted by labour clubs across the factions.
The forums were lively and challenging and drew out the perceptions of the labour movement which are held by students. With the "Latte set" on Sydney more interested talking about "neo-liberalism" and the "short blacks" on UTS more interested in "rockin' the revolution" then over to the "Blend 45's" at UWS wanting to know what a union will do for them, it led to interesting discussions and debate and showed the definite political and cultural divides that exist between the campus'.
Discussion was varied and entertaining at UTS & Sydney we had the International Socialist Organisation lecturing Costa on how the Teachers Dispute is not about wages and conditions but however an ideological battle by the teachers to emancipate the worker class and lead them to a glorious workers paradise and of course Resistance poked out its head to see what their former comrade had to say.
However there was genuine interest and debate on the way forward for the movement. Questions were asked about the accord and would any future ALP government would rehash it and what the union's response would be, a lot of discussions also focused on the Organising Strategy and if its was a rebirth of "militancy" within the movement? The Victorian Building Workers campaign for a shorter working week was also discussed at length.
Costa also spoke on the way forward for the ALP. Students asked Costa of his opinion on the "Third Way" ideology currently being espoused by Mark Latham and the British Labour Party as well as the future of factions.
Participants in the forums explained their frustrations with unions and also gave good feedback about what they believe could be areas in which the unions could improve.
If there is a lesson to be learnt from the campus sojourn it is that if unions are to increase membership we need to continue to reach out to all sections of the community to gauge what the general feeling about the movement is.
Whilst there will always be a section of the community who are anti-Union surveys have shown that the vast majority of workers support trade unions however with Union membership at 28% and still declining support is obviously not translating into membership and that is our challenge for the next period.
Paul Howes works in the Union Shop
Interview: Telstra Troubleshooter
Andrew Hillard first blew the whistle on Mal Colston’s expenses rorts; now he’s taking on Telstra over its tactics to drive down wages and conditions.
Unions: A Christmas (Recruitment) Story
Staff at the Illawarra Mutual Building Society organised their own Christmas present - and, with the help of a little e-mail, delivered 80 new members to the ASU's Clerical and Administrative Branch.
International: A Move to the Left?
John Passant look’s at ‘Red Ken’ Livingstone’s tilt at Mayor of London and what it means for the Radical Left.
Legal: Going Broke: What Workers Should Do
A no nonsense guide to protecting your entitlements when the boss goes bust.
Politics: "I Can't Believe It's Not Peter Reith":
The NSW Labor Government is waging a dirty campaign against the NSW Teachers Federation in order to gain the upper hand in the long running award dispute.
History: One Big Nation
In the 1920’s rural Australia was arguing for its share of the national wealth through The Bush Workers Propaganda Group.
Satire: Toddler Death Fallout: BMW Releases New Oven
The Victorian Government has turned up the heat on the gambling and car industries following a spate of children being locked inside cars.
Review: The Stranger from Hobart
In his controversial new book, Peter Botsman lifts the lid on the unsung hero of federation, Andrew Inglis Clark
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005