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  Issue No 48 Official Organ of LaborNet 31 March 2000  

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Unions

Bush Bashing

By John Graham

The Finance Sector Union is taking to the road to pressure the government to impose community service obligations on banks.

 
 

Bush Bashing FSU Style

When one of Australia's largest and most well known companies - BHP - announced it was shutting up shop in Newcastle, and that 3000 of its workers, along with their families would be affected, the public outcry was enormous. The reaction placed a great deal of pressure on the Federal Government to act, and overcoming their initial hesitation, they acted to provide some support to the community in the region.

Now as our largest banks and insurance companies announce wave after wave of job loss and branch closure, public pressure is building for the Government to act. Since 1993, the loss of jobs from the major banks exceeds forty thousand. More than thirteen times the number of workers and their families than the number affected at BHP have been thrown out of work by these employers, and those that are left have had to pick up the extra workload.

In response to this emergency situation the Finance Sector Union this week launched a Save our Services tour of regional Australia. The FSU rescue vehicle is a reconditioned ambulance, with the story of the last seven years painted on its side - 2000 branches closed, 40000 jobs gone, $40 billion profit. The ambulance and FSU members and organisers who are travelling with it will be stopping in towns across the country, visiting members in their workplaces, collecting petitions, speaking to local councils and MP's and holding town meetings.

We will be collecting the stories along the way of bank workers and community members affected by the wholesale withdrawal of access to financial services that is occuring, and many of those will be reported in Workers Online as we go.

The message to the government from the community has been that the closures have to stop. The FSU has pointed to examples from the United States and elsewhere, showing how Governments can act protect the community and enforce the community obligations that banks have. The Community Reinvestment Act in the US is the most prominent example - a scheme which rates and rewards those employers who take the needs of the community into account.

Just as in Newcastle, a government which is slow or hesitant to act will find it can only delay, not resist, the public pressure to curb the behaviour of some of Australia's largest and most profitable companies.


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*   Issue 48 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: The New President
At the end of her first week in the job, new ACTU President Sharan Burrow trades emails with Workers Online.
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*  Health: Making Sense of Medicare
Nurses lift the lid on the Medicare myths as they shape up for a major national campaign.
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*  Unions: Bush Bashing
The Finance Sector Union is taking to the road to pressure the government to impose community service obligations on banks.
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*  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.
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*  Economics: Mutual Obligation
New statistics show that an increasing number of people are volunteering to contribute to the community.
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*  History: Living Library - Part II
More on the rich labour history that is housed within the walls of Sydney's Mitchell Library.
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*  International: Russian Revolution
Russian trade unions are calling for the revision of a draft Labour Code, against the backdrop of Presidential elections.
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*  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.
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*  Satire: Chop ‘em Up and Stick ‘em in Acid”
The West Australian Government is poised to pass Pakistani-style sentencing laws.
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News
»  Workers Demand Internet Access to Organise
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»  ILO Condemns Australian Labor Laws
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»  Flying Doctor Grounds Aussie Jobs
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»  Bank-Bulance Hits the Road
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»  April Deadline on Olympics Pay Claim
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»  Pressure Builds on Stellar Contract
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»  Shares Plummets But Rio Bosses Get Millions
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»  Nurses to Launch Medicare Campaign
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»  Action Boosts Wages for Disabled Workers
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»  SA Workers Close Building Industry
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»  Political Economy for Activists
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»  Workers to Set the Tunes for Dili Streets
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»  OBITUARY - George Petersen (1921-2000)
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  Sport
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  An Open Letter to Ansett
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»  Moved by Wal's Life Story
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»  The Problem With Mandatory Sentencing
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