Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 61 Official Organ of LaborNet 07 July 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Technology: Union Rep for Global Net Body
The godfather of unions and the Internet, Eric Lee, is seeking your support to give labour a voice on the net's governing body, ICANN.
*  Interview: Downloaded and Done Over
In the wake of the TV Networks' digital TV victory, Internet industry chief Peter Coroneus rues a missed opportunity for Australia.
*  Legal: The Global Millennium Project
The International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR) has developed a draft proposal for a comprehensive revision and modernisation of international labour standards for the new millenium.
*  Unions: Sandgropers Get Serious on Stress
The Australian Services Union in Western Australia in conjunction with the University of Western Australia, is surveying workers across the state's call centre industry.
*  Politics: New Work for a New Millennium
View in full the ALP's Draft Industrial Relations Policy to be taken to the National Conference at the end of the month.
*  Solidarity: Korean Hotel Workers Seek Global Help
Striking Korean hotel workers at the Swiss Grand Hotel and the Seoul Hilton are worried they could be the next targets of escalating riot police violence.
*  History: Vince's Parable of the Sundial
How a working man survived WWII and ASIO blacklists to save a sundial.
*  International: Room for Optimism from African Poll
The performance of pro-Deomcracy groups in the Zimbabwean elections has given supporters hope for better days.
*  Environment: Mexican Wave Goes Green
American politics has taken on a Green hue with the left leaning National Action Party and the Greens in Mexico picking up nearly 40% of the vote in the recent elections.
*  Satire: Aussies Celebrate Centenary by Leaving Country
Prime Minister John Howard has defended his government's decision not to involve Australia in the centenary federation celebrations.
*  Review: A Building Sings of Lives Lived in Music
Mysterious shadows flicker in the windows of the Parramatta Town Hall. Strains of trumpet and sarod float outside. It's all part of the urban Theatre Project's latest work, 'The Palais'.

Honour for Union Stalwart

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Stepping out for Orange

No Guarantees for Email Workers
Email management is refusing to guarantee the security of accrued entitlement as the Orange whitegoods manufacture faces an uncertain future.
[ Full Story » ]

Hotel Bosses Face Olympic Showdown
Big city hotels are facing a campaign by workers to get their share of the Olympics windfall, with a mass meeting of workers to be held later this month.
[ Full Story » ]

Aussie Bosses Embarrassed in NZ
Australian bosses have admitted treating New Zealand workers badly - and fronted up to the NZ Parliament to say so.
[ Full Story » ]

Labour Hire Task Force Begins Work
Workers and their trade unions are being asked make formal submissions to the Carr Government's Labour Hire Inquiry, which met for the first time this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Costa to Stay at Labor Council
Labor Council secretary Michael Costa has agreed to remain at the helm of the NSW trade union movement after a week of political manouvres.
[ Full Story » ]

Lockout Sleight of Hand
An attempt by Joy Mining Machinery to end its bitter three month Moss Vale lockout ten days ahead of schedule, failed miserably this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Owner Drivers Unite to Save Industry from GST
Long distance truck drivers are facing cuts of up to $180 for a single trip as the industry tries to come to grips with the new GST.
[ Full Story » ]

The Future Starts Now for Youth Charter
A story about a young worker with a nose stud - reported by Workers Online last week - has caused a fissure of excitement in the mainstream media - discussed on JJJ and making it a page one picture story for the Canberra Times.
[ Full Story » ]

Volleyball Stadium Accident - Questions Remain
The Olympic beach volleyball stadium at Bondi Beach suffered another blow to its image last Friday when the steel platform were ripped off by the 35kmh winds.
[ Full Story » ]

Telstra - Making it Queasier for You
The CPSU has expressed outrage over the treatment of a sick Telstra call centre worker saying Telstra was using South Australia's high unemployment rate to intimidate and bully its workforce.
[ Full Story » ]

MUA Helps Deliver Rice for Timor
A joint effort involving the Maritime Union of Australia, the Rice Growers' Co-op, the Navy, Toll Logistics, a community aid group and a local MP, has resulted in a 40 tonne shipment of rice being loaded for East Timor.
[ Full Story » ]

Reith Puts Boot into Health and Safety
The CPSU has expressed concern at Workplace Relations Minister, Peter Reith's decision to arbitrarily move the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) from Sydney to Canberra.
[ Full Story » ]

Biko Backer Tours Australia
Respected South African journalist, Donald Woods, is visiting Australia and NZ for a 16 day speaking tour on behalf of the Fred Hollows Foundation focusing on the need for economic and social reinvestment in South Africa and the region.
[ Full Story » ]

Unchain Your Mind at Melbourne Forum
On the eve of the national conference of the Australian Labor Party in Hobart many of Labor's foremost thinkers and activists are gathering in Melbourne to present new ideas for Labor in power.
[ Full Story » ]

Union Stalwart Honoured
Robert Cumbo from the CFMEU, Construction & General Division was presented with a Labor Council scroll of honour from his hospital bed this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Congratulations on the Email Rally in Orange

  • Dissident Site

  • Tax Workers Defended

  • A Reluctant Brown-Tongue

  • Editorial

    Regional Interests and Fair Trade

    This week's trip to Orange was emblematic for the trade union movement. At risk was the livelihood of the city's biggest employer, Email, currently being circled by hostile predators and, by extension, a good proportion of the workforce.

    The turnout was nothing short of spectacular; stalwarts of the town say they've never seen such a display of unity and solidarity as workers from the city and surrounding areas leant their support.

    What is less clear is the long-term solution to the risk that Email faces.

    Some speakers at the rally spoke passionately of the need to ensure that Australian workers are not left the losers from global trade; that countries that fail to meet Australia's labour and environmental standards should be penalised.

    But is this really the correct analysis? While core labour standards like the right to organise and the banning of child labour must be implemented, the idea that we should close Australia off from international trade should be carefully scrutinised.

    Australia is a net winner from international trade and moves to wind back access to our markets would harm far more workers than it will protect.

    The issue for Orange is not so much about global competition as corporate ethics: Email's reality is that it is a profitable company being eyed by bigger fish who want to exploit its good name.

    Regardless, the triumph of 'fair trade' over 'free trade' would only assist it at the margins - there will always be countries at different stages of development who will pay their workers less.

    Far more important to the ongoing viability of a high-quality, smart business like Email is the development of an infrastructure to allow it to be a pace-setting manufacture for decades to come.

    This is where issues like wiring regional Australia and skilling workers to the new technology are essential: and should be a core responsibility of Telstra while it remains in public hands.

    The base that Email has created for Orange should not just be looked at as an Old Economy factory; within it's walls are the ideas and expertise to enhance the prestige of the labels it produces for domestic and international markets.

    It is here that the value of a smart and educated workforce comes to the fore. It is not about protectionism, it's about creating the conditions to allow a rural community to thrive in an open world.

    Putting the walls up would be one solution to Orange's current woes; investing in the workforce would be an altogether more productive approach.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Mark McGrath on Seizing the Web Peter Moss: Baby's First Game Paul Howes' Web Week Ralph Waters - Email Messenger



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