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Workers Online
  Issue No 52 Official Organ of LaborNet 05 May 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: War Stories from the Shakey Isles
After being flat-earthed, New Zealand unions are making a comeback under a new progressive government. Darien Fenton is at the forefront of the resurgence.
*  Unions: Laying It On the Line
A complex international legal web underpins a long-running South Coast picket.
*  International: Alive and Kicking
Those representing right wing political forces and strategists for multi-national corporations would be disappointed by the success of the recently concluded Congress of the WFTU in Delhi.
*  Economics: Fair Trade not Free Trade
The successful MAI and Seattle campaigns have sparked a new debate about the role of the World Trade Organization.
*  History: The Manchester Movement
Manchester, in Asa Briggs memorable phrase, was the shock city of the early nineteenth century, a small and obscure market town that in a matter of a few years had become a huge city.
*  Satire: Passing the Buck
Government report tells bosses how to lie and pass the buck: Reith blames Kemp
*  Review: A Book to Set the Left Right
The Australian Finacial Review's Stephen Long gives his verdict on 'Tales from the new Shop Floor'.

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Wobbly Radio


CFMEU Champ Lashes Out for Workers

Conference Showdown Looms Over Stellar
The Carr Government is heading for a State Conference showdown over plans to provide funds to a new call center offering Reith-style individual contracts to all workers on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.
[ Full Story » ]

Olympics Pay Fight Hots Up
Public sector workers have given the State Government 14 days to come good on a $3 per hour Olympics allowance while rail workers have withdrawn from extensive Games preparations as their claim comes to a head.
[ Full Story » ]

Victims Compo Win for Workers
NSW Cabinet has agreed to exempt workers who are involved in armed hold-ups and abductions from plans to restrict access to the state Victims Compensation Scheme.
[ Full Story » ]

Living Wage to Flow Through Fast
This week's higher than expected $15 Living Wage decision is likely to flow through to workers employed under NSW awards quickly, after a mirror claim was lodged in the NSW IRC this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Women Part-Timers Fight ANZ
In the biggest sex discrimination case in Australian history, the FSU are taking ANZ to the human rights commission over a plan to reduce the working hours of female part-time workers.
[ Full Story » ]

Clemo Fights for Wage Justice
CFMEU scaffoler Justin 'Clemo' Clements was cheered on by hundreds of building workers as he entered the boxing ring. at Star City Casino on Friday 28 April.
[ Full Story » ]

Community Workers Vote to Strike
A long running campaign by Social and Community workers for an improvement to their atrocious award is set to escalate with an industry-wide strike on 23 June.
[ Full Story » ]

New Report: TV Casting Discriminatory
A new report into the casting of television drama productions such as Water Rats, Blue Heelers and All Saints concludes that racial discrimination in the casting process persists.
[ Full Story » ]

Call for ACCC Prosecutions Over Japan Coal
As Australia loses billions in coal export earnings, miners have called on the Howard Government's competition watchdog to launch prosecutions over Japanese coal price fixing.
[ Full Story » ]

Sydney Support for Korean Workers and Arrested Officials
Over 40 unionists and Korean community activists occupied the North Sydney office of Daewoo Australia on Tuesday may 2, 2000, to support the demands for job security by car workers in South Korea.
[ Full Story » ]

Maternity Protection Goes Global
An Australian delegate to the International Labor Organisation will brief union officials on a review of global maternity standards in Sydney on May 16.
[ Full Story » ]

Ten Years Hard Labor for Shaw
NSW Attorney General and Minister for Industrial Relations Jeff Shaw has celebrated ten years at Macquarie Street in typically understated style.
[ Full Story » ]

Sydney CD's Head For Dili
Meanwhile, 1,000 CD's donated to the Timor radio station Voz de Esperanza are on their way to Dili as the second in a series of fundraisers looms.
[ Full Story » ]

May One - Ground Zero
A strong contingent of Australian trade unionists and Aboriginal Australians helped the people of East Timor celebrate the first May Day in the new country earlier this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Negotiation - Reith Style

  • Propaganda or News?

  • A Recipe for Modern Unionism

  • Disappointed by May Day Coverage

  • Politics in the Pub

  • Editorial

    A Bit of Self Promotion

    At the risk of being accused of soiling my own nest, I want to put a few things straight about my new book, 'Tales from the New Shop Floor'.

    In it I say some provocative things about work in the New Economy, notably that it is not all mindless McJobs and that the end of job security is not necessarily a disaster for working people.

    These conclusions are based on observing how people are working in the New Economy - collecting skills, handling information, solving problems and dealing with people.

    Instead of climbing a ladder, working life is more like surfing a wave, riding a job then jumping off and starting again, your skills portfolio your main asset to develop during your working life.

    This is not to diminish the efforts of union movement in the difficult task of organizing traditional workers - it's just that the jobs, and the aspiration of many of the workers have changed.

    It also doesn't mean that all jobs in the New Economy are good - there are terrible workplaces, usually defined by the desire of their workforce to move on as quickly as possible.

    What is different is the dynamic nature of the labour force; and while this constant churning of jobs creates new challenges for unions, we are still looking at the jobs through an old prism that sees insecurity as 'bad'.

    As a movement we currently run the risk of locking ourselves into a reactionary and conservative position by arguing for jobs that were never that great anyway.

    And in the jobs of the New Economy our rhetoric on issues like job security and working hours often sounds as if we oppose the jobs themselves, which merely has the effect of locking ourselves out of these industries.

    The fact that this growing section of the workforce is not turning to the union movement should give us a clue that we need to rethink our role.

    What can we do? Recognise that New Economy workers still have needs but that they may be different. What if we can better assist our members in improving their jobs mobility rather than helping them lock into the one job for life?

    You can criticise my sample, but these are the workers in the growth areas; ignore them at your peril.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Bob Ellis's May Day Toast When Things Are Down Superman on Corporate Governance A Born-Again Nutter



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