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  Issue No 48 Official Organ of LaborNet 31 March 2000  




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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.

ACTU secretary Greg Combet says the Australian Government is fast becoming a global pariah because of its dogged determination to flout international humanitarian standards following the overnight vote in Geneva.

The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association has been investigating complaints against the Government from the ACTU, the MUA, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, and the International Transport Workers Federation of:

· Anti-union discrimination

· Interference with strike and boycott action

· Restrictions on picketing

· Violation of collective bargaining rights

· Interference with the rights of affiliation with international workers' organisations

Among other recommendations, the ILO will ask the Government to:

· Amend the 1996 Workplace Relations Act, saying it 'noted with concern' that linking restrictions on strike action to interference with trade and commerce could impede legitimate strike action.

· Take 'necessary measures', including amending the Trade Practices Act, to ensure that workers can take sympathy action in support of a legal strike.

· Take 'necessary measures', including amending legislation, to ensure that Australian Workplace Agreements do not undermine the right to bargain collectively.

Combet says the latest breach of international standards would fuel the growing perception that Australia was out of step with world opinion.

"This is yet another breach of faith to the Australian people. Australia was one of the founding members of the United Nations. Now this Government is consistently acting against UN conventions," he says.

"Right now, the UN is investigating Australia for serious breaches over racial discrimination, alleged migrant detention centre abuses, and mandatory sentencing.

"The evidence against Peter Reith's Workplace Relations Act is mounting. The criticisms of his secret individual employment contracts (AWAs) demonstrate just how unfair his system really is. The Workplace Relations Act has now been found in breach of so many international conventions that there will surely be a day of reckoning.

"No doubt the Howard Government will ignore and ridicule these latest criticisms from the ILO. What the Government should do is immediately act to bring Australia's industrial laws into line with international standards."


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*   Issue 48 contents

In this issue
*  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.

»  Workers Demand Internet Access to Organise
»  ILO Condemns Australian Labor Laws
»  Flying Doctor Grounds Aussie Jobs
»  Bank-Bulance Hits the Road
»  April Deadline on Olympics Pay Claim
»  Pressure Builds on Stellar Contract
»  Shares Plummets But Rio Bosses Get Millions
»  Nurses to Launch Medicare Campaign
»  Action Boosts Wages for Disabled Workers
»  SA Workers Close Building Industry
»  Political Economy for Activists
»  Workers to Set the Tunes for Dili Streets
»  OBITUARY - George Petersen (1921-2000)

»  The Soapbox
»  Sport
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  An Open Letter to Ansett
»  Moved by Wal's Life Story
»  The Problem With Mandatory Sentencing

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