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  Issue No 50 Official Organ of LaborNet 14 April 2000  

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News

Employment National Workers Win CES Conditions

By Dermott Browne

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.

The CPSU says the ruling is a significant victory against the federal government's workplace laws.

"When the government closed down the CES in 1998, staff and work were transferred to a new government-owned company, Employment National", said Wendy Caird, National Secretary of the CPSU, the union representing these staff.

"But the government tried to deny that these workers had the same employment rights and pay rates as they had in the CES. The Federal Court has made a very important finding. By its decision, it will slow down the government in its attempts to lower wages and conditions by transferring business from one government organisation to another" Ms Caird said.

The CPSU has now successfully taken a number of similar cases to court and won them. "The government and Telstra are the chief offenders in trying to use organisational re-arrangements to reduce staff entitlements.

"The Courts are consistently finding that these manipulations don't reduce an employer's responsibility to pay their staff fairly. Yet the government is spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in fighting these cases", said Ms Caird.

Although the union has won the principle issue, workers won't immediately receive additional benefits. "There are still some issues we are looking at arising from the decision, but at the same time as the work was reorganised, the government also pushed staff onto individual contract arrangements (AWAs) which over-ride their award entitlements. So at this stage it seems they still won't receive fairness from these

laws, despite this finding. A separate Court action is challenging this misuse of AWAs

however, and our view is that using AWAs in this way is duress and is unlawful". Ms

Caird said.


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*   Issue 50 contents

In this issue
Features
*  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,
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*  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.
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*  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.
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*  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.
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*  International: Towards Liberation
Zimbabwe trade unions are at the centre of the democratic struggle going on within the African Nation
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*  Republic: The Referendum We Had To Have
Paul Norton finds some hope in last year's resounding defeat of the republic proposition.
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*  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.
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*  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.
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News
»  Sock Nazis Spark Casino Strike
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»  Grave Fears Over Carr's Funeral Agenda
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»  Packer, Pratt to Profit at Unions' Expense
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»  Telstra Discrimination: 'Round one' to the Workers
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»  Timor Fundraiser a Blast
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»  Water workers flood CBD head office
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»  Libs Plead for Help on IR
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»  Employment National Workers Win CES Conditions
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»  Teachers Deal Still Undone
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»  Pressure Builds for Compo Pull-Out
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»  Pacific Unions Increase Regional Ties
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»  Ellis to Give May Day Toast
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»  Special Comp: Just Who Are Our Friends?
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Columns
»  Guest Report
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»  The Locker Room
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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