Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 48 Official Organ of LaborNet 31 March 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: The New President
At the end of her first week in the job, new ACTU President Sharan Burrow trades emails with Workers Online.
*  Health: Making Sense of Medicare
Nurses lift the lid on the Medicare myths as they shape up for a major national campaign.
*  Unions: Bush Bashing
The Finance Sector Union is taking to the road to pressure the government to impose community service obligations on banks.
*  Politics: The French Connection
While Victorian building unions are seeking a 36 hour week, Eurpoean nations like France are taking a more communcal approach to working time.
*  Economics: Mutual Obligation
New statistics show that an increasing number of people are volunteering to contribute to the community.
*  History: Living Library - Part II
More on the rich labour history that is housed within the walls of Sydney's Mitchell Library.
*  International: Russian Revolution
Russian trade unions are calling for the revision of a draft Labour Code, against the backdrop of Presidential elections.
*  Review: Casino Royale
Laurie Aaron's new book is sparking a lively debate about how a progressive agenda can be adapted to the challenges of globalisation.
*  Satire: Chop ‘em Up and Stick ‘em in Acid”
The West Australian Government is poised to pass Pakistani-style sentencing laws.

Sharon Burrow

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Bush Bashing FSU Style

Workers Demand Internet Access to Organise
Pressure is building on the NSW Government to enshrine union access to office email systems in law, with the first wave of unfair dismissal cases over the issue hitting the courts.
[ Full Story » ]

ILO Condemns Australian Labor Laws
The International Labour Organisation has asked the Federal Government to review key labour laws following complaints of anti-union discrimination over its role in the 1998 Patrick waterfront dispute.
[ Full Story » ]

Flying Doctor Grounds Aussie Jobs
Fears are increasing that the Royal Flying Doctor Service is about to send its lucrative aircraft maintenance work to Canada, costing more than 50 Australian jobs.
[ Full Story » ]

Bank-Bulance Hits the Road
A converted ambulance has set off from Sydney to tour regional Australia and check the health of rural banks, complete with first aid kit, medical certificates and prescription forms.
[ Full Story » ]

April Deadline on Olympics Pay Claim
Transport workers have given the NSW Government an April 30 deadline to deliver a $300 per week bonus during the Olympic Games or face a round of industrial action.
[ Full Story » ]

Pressure Builds on Stellar Contract
The Carr Government has been asked to intervene to ensure that a new Stellar call centre at Hornsby is not operating in breach of it's own Contracting Policy.
[ Full Story » ]

Shares Plummets But Rio Bosses Get Millions
The fact that Rio Tinto shares plummeted from a high of $33 in January this year to $22 in March, wasn't enough to stop the multinational's bosses from dipping their snouts in the corporate trough again.
[ Full Story » ]

Nurses to Launch Medicare Campaign
Nurses are spearheading a campaign to protect the long-term future of Medicare, with a National Day of Action to coincide with World Health Day on Friday April 7.
[ Full Story » ]

Action Boosts Wages for Disabled Workers
Workers with disabilities at a NSW workplace now have career paths and a better wages system thanks to a new Union-backed agreement.
[ Full Story » ]

SA Workers Close Building Industry
SA Construction Workers yesterday successfully closed down the industry for the sixth time in 5 weeks with more strike action looming over the next few weeks.
[ Full Story » ]

Political Economy for Activists
Tired of the 'economic rationalist' argument from both sides of politics? Want to engage with these arguments but confused by the jargon?
[ Full Story » ]

Workers to Set the Tunes for Dili Streets
Australian workers have the chance to set the tones of the streets of Dili by donating CDs for the fledgling radio station ‘Voz de Esperanza’ – the Voice of Hope.
[ Full Story » ]

OBITUARY - George Petersen (1921-2000)
A tribute to one of the South Coast's favourite sons who passed away this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • An Open Letter to Ansett

  • Moved by Wal's Life Story

  • The Problem With Mandatory Sentencing

  • Editorial

    Time to Act on Emails

    It may not be quite as dramatic as the dogs on chains that greeted waterfront workers, but reports this week that a union delegate had been fired for distributing union information on the office email represent just as a big a risk to the movement.

    The sacking, the first concrete example of its kind, gives substance to the argument Labor Council has been running for some time - a union's right to an office email system is every bit as fundamental as its right to the workplace.

    The sacking encapsulates the two basic rights we are arguing for: the right for workers' to communicate with each other without having their email monitored by employers; and the right for unions to use the infrastructure to communicate with members.

    While the NSW Government has adopted state of the art guidelines in the public sector, calls for broader protection have been delayed as the Attorney General waits for a long-anticipated report from the NSW Law Reform Commission.

    The current spate of sackings means the government can wait on this report no longer. People are losing their jobs because of their ill-defined rights in cyber-space.

    A report from the Federal Privacy Commissioner released this week is also cold comfort for unions - while the report properly recognizes that emails should be secure, no consideration is given of union rights.

    The Internet and email offers trade unions tremendous opportunities to communicate with members, provide them with much needed information and create a new community of online workers.

    The longer the area remains unregulated, the more difficult it will be to develop clear principles that are fair to everyone. It's time for progressive governments to take up the challenge and develop some basic standards.

    Let's get it right. Now.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Arthur Rorris on the South Coast Noel Hester's Master Plan Neale Towart's Labour Review Ziggy: the Spider from Telstra



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