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  Issue No 61 Official Organ of LaborNet 07 July 2000  

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News

Aussie Bosses Embarrassed in NZ

By Adelia Hallett - NZ Correspondent

Australian bosses have admitted treating New Zealand workers badly - and fronted up to the NZ Parliament to say so.

Lines company ERG Connect executive general manager Jim Madigan told the select committee looking at the Employment Relations Bill that charges levelled against it by the NZ trade union movement were true.

"These points levelled against us, how do it say it, I'd probably have to say that they're pretty correct," he said.

The union had included ERG in its list of worst employers, and accused it of targeting union delegates, deliberating breaching the collective contract and even of injuring a worker by deliberating driving into him during a lockout.

Madigan, who lives in Victoria, said he had not known what was going on, despite frequent visits to New Zealand.

"I had a rogue manager in New Zealand," he said. "My mistake, I spent too much time with the manager and not enough time with the troops."

Madigan said the company, which was about to take on 80 new workers in Christchurch, was building a good relationship with the union and hoped to have all workers on one collective contract.

"In Australia I employ around 500 people," he said. "I work with collective agreements over there. I work very closely with the communications union. We have our fallings out but we have a pretty good track record. So, I stand there."

Union organiser Robert Winters told the committee that the drawn-out dispute had cost the union and individual workers a lot of money.

Labour MP Helen Duncan said that the ERG story showed how important industrial law was.

"I would hope that under this bill (the ERB) it wouldn't be possible for those excesses to happen and go on for so long," she said.

*ERG Connect's submission contrasted sharply with that of Telecom, which headed our list of worst employers. Telecom managers told the select committee that individual contracts were best for their business and nothing would change that.


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*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 61 contents

In this issue
Features
*  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.
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*  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.
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*  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.
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*  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.
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*  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.
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*  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.
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*  History: Vince's Parable of the Sundial
How a working man survived WWII and ASIO blacklists to save a sundial.
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*  International: Room for Optimism from African Poll
The performance of pro-Deomcracy groups in the Zimbabwean elections has given supporters hope for better days.
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*  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.
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*  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.
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*  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'.
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News
»  No Guarantees for Email Workers
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»  Hotel Bosses Face Olympic Showdown
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»  Aussie Bosses Embarrassed in NZ
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»  Labour Hire Task Force Begins Work
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»  Costa to Stay at Labor Council
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»  Lockout Sleight of Hand
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»  Owner Drivers Unite to Save Industry from GST
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»  The Future Starts Now for Youth Charter
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»  Volleyball Stadium Accident - Questions Remain
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»  Telstra - Making it Queasier for You
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»  MUA Helps Deliver Rice for Timor
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»  Reith Puts Boot into Health and Safety
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»  Biko Backer Tours Australia
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»  Unchain Your Mind at Melbourne Forum
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»  Union Stalwart Honoured
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  Sport
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  Congratulations on the Email Rally in Orange
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»  Dissident Site
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»  Tax Workers Defended
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»  A Reluctant Brown-Tongue
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