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  Issue No 50 Official Organ of LaborNet 14 April 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: The Gospel According To ...
Green Bans legend Jack Mundey looks back on his days in the BLF and the lessons that can be drawn from that experience today,
*  Unions: Spinning at the Casino
In the lead-up to this weekend's historic strike, active LHMU members at Sydney’s Star City Casino have been making their own news.
*  East Timor: Rebuilding From the Nightmare
NSW Attorney General Jeff Shaw travelled to Dili to get a first-hand perspective on the reconstruction work required.
*  History: Internal Democracy and the BLF
How the rank and file team that took over the BLF in the early sixties attempted to devolve power to the grassroots.
*  International: Towards Liberation
Zimbabwe trade unions are at the centre of the democratic struggle going on within the African Nation
*  Republic: The Referendum We Had To Have
Paul Norton finds some hope in last year's resounding defeat of the republic proposition.
*  Work/Time/Life: @work in the e-century
Marian Baird takes stock of how far we’ve come, or not come, in terms of our working life.
*  Review: Rocking the Foundations
Pat Fiske's wonderful documentary on the BLF should be compulsory viewing for anyone in the union movement talking about shifting to an Organising Model.

Casino Worker: Stephen Clark

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Playing From the Heart - Babalu

Sock Nazis Spark Casino Strike
Intrusive management practices, including written warnings for staff who wear navy rather than black socks, is behind strike action that will hit Sydney's Star City Casino this weekend.
[ Full Story » ]

Grave Fears Over Carr's Funeral Agenda
Funeral workers fear State Government plans to deregulate the industry will see a return to the days of backyard burials and multiple body burns.
[ Full Story » ]

Packer, Pratt to Profit at Unions' Expense
Billionaires Richard Pratt and Kerry Packer are among the investors set to reap millions as Virtual Communities, the firm established to sell computers to union members, rushes towards a market float.
[ Full Story » ]

Telstra Discrimination: 'Round one' to the Workers
A senior Telstra manager has been forced to retract a direction that workers who had signed individual contracts be given preferential treatment in the redundancy process, but still faces legal action .
[ Full Story » ]

Timor Fundraiser a Blast
"Radio Free East Timor", jointly presented by the Labor Council, LHMU and CFMEU took the Harbourside Brasserie by storm on Thursday night.
[ Full Story » ]

Water workers flood CBD head office
Angry union members from Sydney Water, Australian Water Technologies and the Sydney Catchment Authority occupied the foyer and ground floor of the Corporation's CBD Headquarters on Wednesday.
[ Full Story » ]

Libs Plead for Help on IR
The NSW Opposition has called on the public to help it devise an industrial relations policy amidst growing dissatisfaction with the Conservative deregulatory agenda.
[ Full Story » ]

Employment National Workers Win CES Conditions
The Federal Court has found that workers in Employment National should be covered by the awards and agreements that had applied to staff in the now-defunct Commonwealth Employment Service.
[ Full Story » ]

Teachers Deal Still Undone
Private school teachers have reached agreement on a 16 per cent pay rise, but strike actions hangs over public schools as the Carr Government refuses to move on key conditions.
[ Full Story » ]

Pressure Builds for Compo Pull-Out
Building workers are upping their campaign for a stand alone on workers compensation scheme.
[ Full Story » ]

Pacific Unions Increase Regional Ties
Public sector unions from the Pacific region have secured gruarntees that child labour will not be used in connection with the Sydney olympic Games.
[ Full Story » ]

Ellis to Give May Day Toast
Notorious author and political speechwriter Bob Ellis will join Labor Council President Sam Moait and National Textile Worker Dave Evans to give the annual May Day Toast.
[ Full Story » ]

Special Comp: Just Who Are Our Friends?
Labor Council went to Macquarie Street this week to brief Labor MPs on our shift to an organising culture. Just 32 of the 71 members elected to represent the workers of NSW turned up. Who were they??
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor

Putting the Soul into the Struggle

Soaking up the atmosphere at last night's Radio Free East Timor gig, I couldn't help thinking that there are some things about the union movement that are beyond words.

The feeling of a group of people in the one room, in support of a common and just cause, is a world away from the enterprise agreements and framework negotiations that form so much of the unions' daily work.

But every now and then, the spirit I am talking about is unleashed, and the processes of the workplace come to life. The written documents and management negotiations become merely symbols of a bigger story that is written in the hearts of every member of the group.

When that happens, nothing can stop the workers. The secret, of course, is how to tap this.

The Builders Labourers Federation worked in out in the 1960's and early 70's as a rank and file team transformed the very notion of a union. What shines through from that union is the heart behind the Green Bans; a determination to stand together for what was right.

Many unions are trying to capture the same spirit today; unions like the LHMU who have nurtured workers at the Sydney Casino to the point where they will take strike action for the first time ever this weekend.

These are workers who have never been in the union before; who have learnt first hand the need to stand together. And having built their collective strength, they have now found the courage to exercise it.

Good luck to the Casino workers this weekend; they're not just helping to build on the union movement's proud traditions; they're also making history for themselves.

Peter Lewis


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