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  Issue No 56 Official Organ of LaborNet 02 June 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: When the War is Over
Teachers Federation chief Sue Simpson has just come through the industrial dispute of a lifetime. But where to now for her members?
*  Politics: The Beazley Manifesto
Read the full transcript of Kim Beazley's Fraser Lecture develiered this week, where he unveiled Labor's new industrial relations platform.
*  Unions: Dudded on the Dock of the Bay
Until a few weeks ago Allan and Beverley Crelley had never ever heard of SERCO the big London multinational that specialises in winning contracts from governments committed to outsourcing their workers.
*  History: The Long March for Justice
Against the backdrop of the Walk for Reconciliation across the Sydney Harbour Bridge that took place last Sunday, it is worthwhile recognising that trade unionists were actively promoting the issue decades ago.
*  International: UK Unions Turn the Corner
Union membership is on the rise for the first time in 20 years, indicating an early response to union recognition legislation set to come into effect next month.
*  Work/Time/Life: Flexible Clerks Save Hours
The Australian Services Union has successfully blocked an attempt by wholesaler Davids Limited to force clerical staff at the company's Blacktown office from flexible working hours to a standard 38 hour week.
*  Review: Who Really Won the War?
It might be being pulped for a reference to serial-suitor Peter Costello, but 'Waterfront' has sparked some lively debate about our recent industrial history.
*  Satire: Gosper's New Torch Role
A week after he was excluded from the Olympic torch relay as a result of public criticism, Kevan Gosper has been reinstated by SOCOG President Michael Knight for a special project.

After the War: Sue Simpson Speaks

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Long March for Justice
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Long Service Leave Push for Short-Term Workers
A plan that could see Long Service Leave available for all workers - even when they move from job to job - will be presented to next week's ALP State Conference.
[ Full Story » ]

Carr Asked to Act on Fiji Crisis
NSW Premier, Bob Carr, has been asked to shutdown immediately all assistance to the Fijian public service because the new Military Government, within days of taking over power, has started to implement a policy of racial preferment.
[ Full Story » ]

Major Blow to Government Outsourcing
Government agencies would not be able to award contracts to firms that do not comply with the spirit of Labor industrial relations principles, under guidelines being developed by NSW Transport Minister Carl Scully.
[ Full Story » ]

Beazley Blocks Contracts as Reith Hits New Wall
Opposition Leader Kim Beazley has vowed to scrap Australian Workplace Agreements, as the rank and file campaign against Peter Reith's latest assault on industrial relations gathers steam.
[ Full Story » ]

Carr Makes Formal Offer on Olympics Pay
The Carr Government has formally offered public sector employees providing Olympic related services a $1.50 per hour allowance for the duration of the Games.
[ Full Story » ]

Surfing Carnivals Highlights Beach Threat
Maritime workers will host surfing competitions in Coolangatta, Queensland and Wollongong, NSW this weekend to help raise public awareness about the silent invasion of the Australian coast by substandard, foreign shipping.
[ Full Story » ]

Mail Stopped Over Junk Deal
A backlog of important government and finance letters is growing as a strike at Australia's largest mail order house enters its second week.
[ Full Story » ]

CBA Staff To Strike Over Queues and Abuse
Commonwealth Bank employees Australia-wide have vowed to strike on Friday 9th June unless the Bank hires adequate staff to put an end to the lengthening queues and angry customers that have become part and parcel of work in the industry.
[ Full Story » ]

Women's Bureau to Stay in DIR
The Public Service Association has had a partial victory with its efforts to stop the relocation and cuts to the Women's Equity Bureau.
[ Full Story » ]

Joy's Winter of Discontent
Reithian tactics continue to characterise the bitter Joy Manufacturing dispute on the Southern Highlands of NSW involving 70 workers.
[ Full Story » ]

Advocate Pushes Pattern Bargaining
Peter Reith's Employment Advocate is pushing model AWAs in call centres at the same time as the Howard Government moves to outlaw industry-wide bargaining.
[ Full Story » ]

Nike Versus The Workers
This week the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia takes a big step in its campaign to protect outworkers when it sues the multinational Nike for alleged breaches of the Award.
[ Full Story » ]

New Safety Laws A First in Australia
The NSW Government today passed safety laws that make it compulsory for employers to consult with employees over safety, setting a new benchmark for occupational health and safety.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers March for Reconciliation
Over 1,500 trade unionists joined around 250,000 Australians on Sunday in marching across the Sydney Harbour Bridge for Reconciliation between black and white Australia.
[ Full Story » ]

Labour Movement Mourns Loss of Neil Marshall (11th June 1943 - 31st May 2000)
The members, officials and staff of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union are mourning the loss of a great friend and comrade, Neil Marshall, who died in an air crash in the Spencer Gulf this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Up the Rabbitohs!

  • Solidarity Against Reith

  • Time for Real Tax Reform

  • Fiji Protests A Disgrace

  • Editorial

    Drawing the Battle Lines

    At the end of a week that saw the release of Labor's industrial relations platform and the likely beaching off Reith's third attempted wave of industrial deregulation, some interesting themes are emerging for the next Federal election.

    Where once industrial relations policy was framed up as a battle between competing teams - the unions versus the bosses - we are now seeing a more substantial debate emerging.

    On the one hand we have Reith arguing that deregulation is required to 'remove barriers' to investment; a belief that 'better jobs and better pay' will result from removing trade unions from the equation.

    The position leads to the somewhat bizarre logic that removing protections for workers are in the workers' long-term interests because the 'freer' labour market will create more economic activity.

    On the other side of the ledger we have the emerging Beazley manifesto - as outlined this week. While the headlines have concentrated on the timely decision to scrap Reith's dud AWA regime, the broader theme of the speech seems to have been missed.

    "In a Knowledge Nation the central focus of industrial relations must be to create cooperative, consensual workplaces with a better-educated, better trained workforce," he says.

    "This is the way the Knowledge Nation generates greater productivity. So not only is it good social policy to have a fairer, more cooperative workplace, there can be no doubt it is good economic policy as well."

    This is where the debate is for the taking. While Reith parrots lines from the HR Nichols Society crica 1980; Labor is actively adapting its vision to the new demands of a new economy.

    And the beauty of it is that Beazley is right: all the management literature concedes that the way to get the most out of information workers is to empower them and trust them to continually add to a firm's intellectual capital.

    While there is much flesh still to be put on the bone of Labor's IR platform, the first steps are positive. Labor is cutting through the old divides to frame a new debate about how to create secure spaces for workers in a changing world. And it is hardly surprising that the party closer to those workers is coming up with the better answers.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Chaudry's Last Stand Taking Over the Country Neale Towart's Labour Review Ian Causley - Conspiracy Theorist



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