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  Issue No 54 Official Organ of LaborNet 19 May 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: South of the Border
Victorian Trades Hall chief Leigh Hubbard on life under Bracks, militant unionism and why more people march in Melbourne.
*  Politics: Jeff Shaw's Second Wave
The full text of the NSW Industrial Relations Minister's speech to Labor Council announcing the Carr Government's IR reform agenda.
*  Unions: Reith's Laws: Just Say NO
The ACTU has called on Labor and the Democrats to reject Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith's anti-industry bargaining Workplace Relations 2000 Bill out right.
*  History: A Breed Of Their Own
Labour historian Greg Patmore explains what makes his fraternity tick - and why they're still going strong and making history.
*  International: Sony's Asian Showdown
The Japanese electronic giant Sony is threatening to shutdown production facilities in Indonesia - where a prolonged strike has cost it US$200milliom - and move to next door Malaysia where electronic workers are banned from forming a union.
*  Human Rights: Good Guys, Bad Guys
Everywhere we look -in our newspapers, on the television, in reports by business leaders, academics and politicians - advocacy of human rights seems to be on a collision course with governmental and business interests.
*  Review: New Workers, New Challenges
A new wave of thought is arguing that working life is changing - but this doesn't necessarily deal unions out the action.
*  Satire: Rain Man Withdraws Endorsement of Qantas
After the third major safety incident in the space of a year, Qantas has lost the confidence of the most famous public supporter of its once unblemished safety record, the autistic star of Rain Man, Raymond.

VTHC's Leigh Hubbard

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Childcare Workers Take a Stand

Carr Moves on Casuals
The NSW Government has moved to put casual workers and contractors on an equal footing to traditional employees in a major advance for workers in the new economy.
[ Full Story » ]

Democrats Wavering on Reith Bill
The Australian Democrats have flagged that they could be persuaded to accept part of the Howard Government's latest wave on industrial refroms.
[ Full Story » ]

Exit Visas for Child Care Workers
You can tell that child care workers are among Australia's working poor when a credit card company gives a thumbs down to an application for a new card.
[ Full Story » ]

GST Pay Claims to Target Allowances
A test case on the impact of the GST on workers allowances is shaping as the first real battleground for compensating workers for the impact of the new tax.
[ Full Story » ]

Tide Turns On Competitive Tendering
The Carr Government is beating a retreat on competitive tendering, with its decision to end its policy of opening up rail track maintenance to a commercial bidding process.
[ Full Story » ]

Joy Takes Message To The World
Workers employed by South African branches of Joy Mining have rallied to the cause of the locked-out Moss Vale Joy workers.
[ Full Story » ]

Mines Out as Rio Tinto Torps Talks
Mineworkers at Rio Tinto's Mt Thorley and Howick mines in the Hunter Valley will commence industrial action against the company over its scuttling of negotiations on a new enterprise agreement and refusal to discuss looming retrenchments with the Union.
[ Full Story » ]

Political Economy for Activists, 2000
Tired of the 'economic rationalist' argument from both sides of politics? Want to engage with these arguments but confused by the jargon?
[ Full Story » ]

Unions March for Reconciliation
Sydney workers are invited to join the People's Walk for Reconciliation with the NSW trade union movement next Sunday, May 28.
[ Full Story » ]

STOP PRESS: AK-47s used in coup against union-aligned Fiji Labour Government
The international trade union movement has acted quickly to protest a coup against the Fiji Labour Government.

[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Our Teachers' Coverage

  • Practical Reconcilliation

  • WorkCover Blues

  • Loose Links??

  • Editorial

    Yin and Yang

    If it's true that for every action there is an opposite, then this was a week in perfect balance in the world of industrial relations.

    On the one side we had Peter Reith dusting off the board shorts for another surfing safari of labour market deregulation, taking the away the ability of workers to frame claims across workplaces.

    While this is designed to attack the power of Victorian building unions, all workers will be affected, from finance sector employees seeking family friendly practices to artistic performers seeking industry-wide standards.

    With early indications that the Australian Democrats will look favourably on the Reith reforms, the ACTU is gearing up for a major public campaign over the coming weeks. And as we've seen with the GST, with the Democrats you shouldn't take anything for granted.

    While Reith has been wreaking havoc, the Carr Government has delivered its second term industrial relations blueprint with a package that finally puts an end to the farce of casual labour.

    By extending entitlements like parental leave to long term casuals, NSW is beginning to look behind the labels employment and look at the real situation, The same applies to giving courts the power to deem independent contractors to be workers.

    NSW has the highest level of casualisation in the OECD. Much of this has been driven by the Reith cost-cutting agenda.

    The beauty of Jeff Shaw's reforms is that not only do they deliver a modicum of justice to casuals, they take away one of the incentives to casualise in the first place.

    And thus, we have seen the good and the bad: one government taking extremist approaches to wage an outdated version of class warfare; the other taking sensible steps to deal with a changing world.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    David Whiteley on Unions and e-commerce Noel Hester on the Demise of the Crazy Gang Regulating the Agents The Invisible Man



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