|Issue No 48||31 March 2000|
Ziggy: the Spider from Telstra
Most corporate bosses have few qualms about sacking staff at the same time their company's making huge profits. But only a Tool makes a song and dance about it.
That was the from of Ziggy Switkowski, who despite a phalanx of spin doctors - managed to turn $2 billion in profits into a public relations disaster.
But the problem with Ziggy is he's not content to shaft workers and say it's all very sad; he actually thinks it's a virtue.
And when he's not slashing staff numbers he's setting up companies to take their work and drive their wages down. That's the tactic behind Stellar - the bastard child now committing corporate incest across the organization.
It looks great on a balance sheet; but how does it impact on the lives of working people? That's about as relevant to Ziggy as the plight of rural communities.
On the bigger picture, the work of Ziggy and the embalmed Richard Alston is a neat case study on how to wreck public utilities. The secret is to turn them into evil empires that no self-respecting activist would lift a finger to save.
The same tactics were used by the evil Dr Kemp and the Commonwealth Employemnt Service and, hey presto!, we have the Jobs Network.
Now, we in the Tool Shed don't like to think ourselves cynical, but we ask: if you wanted to flog Telstra, what would you do?
Transfrom it into a center of excellence that the public has deep affection for? Or rip the guts out of it so that the service levels are so bad that people accept 'that something must be done'.
And they're right - something is needed - but its not more share options. It's a sensible debate about what we, as a community, should expect from the national telecommunications career as we enter the wired economy.
Instead of competing for the already crowded e-commerce market, Telstra should be the tool for wiring Australia, skilling us up and ensuring we all benefit from the information economy.
If that means a few years with less than billion dollar profits so be it. We can't play telecommunications like it's a game of junk bonds.
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.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005