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  Issue No 51 Official Organ of LaborNet 28 April 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Wrestling With Reith
CPSU national secretary Wendy Caird has faced the full force of Peter Reith's attack on the federal public sector. The good news is she's still fighting.
*  Unions: The Organiser
As the nature of working life changes fundamentally, union organisers like Sally are taking up the challenge and changing too.
*  Safety: Remembering the Fallen
NSW Industrial Relations Minister Jeff Shaw's keynote address to mark the International Day of Mourning for Deaths in the Workplace.
*  History: May Day Connections
May Day as a modern working class celebration and commemoration began from the 1886 events in Chicago where workers were demonstrating for an eight hour day. But the day already had special significance for working people before then.
*  Women: Swelling the Ranks
Jenny Wright wears the honour of being the nation's first pregnant wharfie modestly. But it's not all clear sailing for this trailblazer.
*  International: Dawn Raid to Arrest Korean Union Leaders
Riot police have broken into the office of the Daewoo Motors Workers Union in Pupyung, near Seoul, and taken union leaders into custody for the "crime" of leading a militant struggle to save the jobs of Korean auto workers.
*  Satire: Angry Star City Staff Strike it Unlucky
Gamblers panicked when they discovered they were locked out of the Casino when 1800 workers walked out.
*  Review: The World of Wobbly Window Cleaners
A new book 'Reshaping the Labour Market' shines the spotlight on the impact of labour market deregulation.

Wrestling Reith - Wendy Caird

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Government to Outsource Staff Relations
Not content with outsourcing most of its service delivery functions, the Howard Government is now looking to outsource having to talk to its own workers.
[ Full Story » ]

Dial-A-Contract Hits Call Centres
The Employment Advocate is targeting the burgeoning call center industry with do-it-yourself formula Australian Workplace Agreements in a bid to counter trade union inroads in the sector.
[ Full Story » ]

Reith Loses Plot Over 'Bad Bargaining' Bible
Under pressure over revelations of his Department's manual teaching public sector bosses how to lie and cheat to staff, Peter Reith faced a fiery media conference this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Prayer for the Fallen Marks International Day
The Carr Government has promised to beef up workplace inspections in NSW as workers took a minute to remember colleagues who had died or been injured in the workplace.
[ Full Story » ]

Entitlement Time-Bomb Still Ticking
The failure of Workplace Relations minister Peter Reith to develop an acceptable to protect workers' entitlements has left the Howard government exposed in the face of future company failures.
[ Full Story » ]

No Joy for Southern Picket
Tensions surrounding a long-running lock-out at a Moss Vale engineering works have escalated, with police being accused of roughhouse tactics in clearing a picket.
[ Full Story » ]

Union Fighter Shapes Up For Casino Workers
Boxer Justin Clemens will deliver a special message of support for Star City workers when he fights at the Sydney Casino tonight.
[ Full Story » ]

Stopped Clock Starts Ticking at Sydney Water
It's a case of the missing year. Sydney Water management have been negotiating with the ASU over an enterprise agreement in a state of denial about the pay rise-free year since the last agreement expired.
[ Full Story » ]

Telstra Tangle Over 'Honest Rob'
In a series of extraordinary admissions designed to convince the Federal Court that Telstra does not discriminate against unionised staff, Telstra accidently fessed up to the fact that AWA staff are actually worse off than staff employed under awards.
[ Full Story » ]

A Week of May Days
May Day celebrations will continue for a week, beginning with the traditional toast on Monday night and culminating in a weekend march through the city's streets.
[ Full Story » ]

Big Drum Up for East Timor!
Following the huge success of the "Radio Free East Timor" a follow-up fundraising concert will be held at The Basement on WEDNESDAY night May 17th 2000.
[ Full Story » ]

Pick a Pollie - the Truth Revealed
It's lucky that Workers Online readers are better judges of quality online publications than they are of the habits of Macquarie Street politicians.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • SOCOG Makes Another Meal Of It

  • Seeking Unionists With Blues

  • Is Red Ken So Clean?

  • Editorial

    In the Public Interest

    The misadventures of Peter Reith this week provide a revealing backdrop to the ongoing debate about the sort of public service the Australian public deserves.

    If he's not getting his Employment Advocate to spruik individual contracts he's outsourcing work - even the very function of dealing with workers - from accountable public sector agencies to faceless corporations chasing a bottom line.

    While Reith cries foul over stories about departmental guides to lying and cheating in workplace negotiations; the real issue he constantly evades is how are any of his policies actually promoting the public interest?

    While he's happy to duck and weave on workers entitlements and leave taxpayers to pick up the bill; he repeats the mantra 'budget efficiency reform' to justify the wholesale trashing of long-standing public institutions.

    It all detracts from what should be the core question government must confront in the Information Age - how can the public interest best be promoted?

    The union movement accepts that the nature of public service is changing; technology is changing the nature of jobs and its impact is presenting new challenges in all areas of public administration.

    But what sticks in the craw is that while unions are more than willing to engage in debate about these changing demands, the Howard Government pursues the public service like an accountant on steroids.

    To call the Howard-Costello-Reith slash and burn approach to the public sector 'reform', is like referring to chemotherapy as a haircut.

    The sooner these guys are called to account for destroying a once great public service, the sooner we can engage in the real work of rebuilding the institutions we need for the 21st Century.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    John Passant: Land, Bread and Peace in Zimbabwe? Women's Soccer - More than a Pin-Up Sport Neale Towart's Labour Review He's Ba-a-a-a-ck!! Reithy Returns



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