Some hotel bosses are trying to convince staff not to attend, what is a legal stop-work and the hospitality award.
The hotel union - the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union - has organised a mass meeting of members for July 24 at the Masonic Centre to discuss the campaign for a fair deal over the Olympics period.
The theme of the mass meeting is: "You have a voice, make it heard".
The managers of Sydney's large hotels are obviously concerned about the union campaign and what could come out of the mass meeting because there is evidence that they have now started swapping strategies about the best way to combat the campaign.
The managers of two of the swankiest hotels in town - the Marriott and the Inter-Continental - have now sent letters to the hotel union which are the same - word-for-word. The layout of the letters is even similar.
The union is having a lot of fun with the letters running a guessing competition asking hotel workers to spot the difference - list how many different points they can find ( eg the letter heads are different).
Both letters tell the union - ever so politely- to naff-off.
The July 24 industry meeting is a legally sanctioned meeting available for union members in both the hotel and motel awards. It is illegal for an employers to tell hospitality workers not to attend the meeting, or to threaten not to pay them during the time they are at the meeting.
" It doesn't matter if you are a casual, you still have the right to come. It doesn't matter if you are on a salary, you still have the right to come. It doesn't even matter if you are not yet a member of the union, you still have the right to come," Jagath Bandara of the Hotel Unions Organising Team said.
" This right is your voice. You have a voice make it heard.
Let's Talk, Says Union
The union is currently running a postcard campaign to calling on all Sydney hotel workers get fair treatment during the Olympics' . Workplace delegates have been distributing " Let's Talk" postcards around all the big residential hotels. It has been a huge success among both unionists and non-unionists.
Hundreds of concerned workers have signed the postcards asking the union to help them get their managers to sit down and talk now to ensure that everything functions smoothly over the Olympics period.
" It is no co-incidence that the hotels where the most postcards have been received from, are also the first hotels to offer to talk about the Olympics concerns of their employees," Bandara says.
" When we deliver the postcards to management it sends a pretty strong message that their workforce means what the postcards say: ' Let's Talk'."
For further information about the Hotel Union campaign contact either Jagath Bandara or Troy Burton from the Hotel Organising Team on 9281 9577
by Adelia Hallett
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.
The Task Force, chaired by former ACTU President Jennie George, wants to here about the impact of labour hire on working life and how they could be improved through regulation.
The Task Force membership comprises the Labor Council of NSW and nominated affiliates, the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association, Australian Business Limited, Employers' Federation of NSW, the Master Builders Association and the Australian Industry Group.
Submissions should contain an Executive Summary and ideally be no more than 15 pages in length including Appendices.
The Task Force encourages the lodgement of submissions in electronic form. Emailed submissions must include your name, postal address and telephone number and may be sent to: mailto:[email protected]
Terms of Reference
The Terms of Reference for the Task Force are to examine non-standard working arrangements surrounding the labour hire industry and in particular:
· examine the employment relationship that exists in different Australian jurisdictions, between workers, labour hire companies and host employers;
· consider whether the employment relationship between workers, labour hire companies, and host employers should be clarified or varied by law;
· consider whether the obligations of labour hire firms or host employers under occupational health and safety legislation should be clarified or varied by law; and
· any recommendations for legislative amendments will need to demonstrate on a cost-benefit basis that they are justified, and will not increase regulatory burdens on business in any way that might impact on employment levels at the industry or occupational level, and/or small and medium sized business.
Arising out of these Terms of Reference the following issues will be considered by the Task Force:
· examining the desirability of facilitating industrial instruments specifically for the labour hire industry, or of applying the prevailing conditions of the host employer to labour hire workers; and
· considering options which ensure the rights of workers of the labour hire firm and workers employed by the host company to organise and bargain effectively.
Written submissions may also be lodged with the NSW Department of Industrial Relations, PO Box 847, DARLINGHURST, 1300, marked "Labour Hire Task Force".
Submissions close on Friday 25 August 2000.
The Task Force will consider all submissions and may invite individuals and organisations making submissions to address the Task Force on points of clarification. Submissions may be made public by the Task Force but persons making submissions should not release them without the agreement of the Task Force.
The Task Force has developed a list of issues for consideration. A copy may be obtained from the Department of Industrial Relations Web site - www.dir.nsw.gov.au or by phoning (02) 9243 8869 or (02) 9243 8421.
Issues for Consideration by the TaskForce
¨ What are the characteristics and scope of the labour hire industry in NSW? Particular attention should be given to the following:
· Industry by industry breakdown, including
a) rural, regional and metropolitan splits;
b) occupational and gender breakdown; and
c) Federal v State jurisdictional coverage;
· The extent or otherwise of the use of group training schemes in the industry;
· The extent to which the industry provides opportunities for employment of persons with disabilities;
· Employer motivations for engaging labour hire workers;
· The extent and nature of workers compensation protection in the industry;
· The degree to which use is made of migrant and illegal workers in the industry;
· The extent of training and skills development in the industry.
¨ What are the advantages and disadvantages of labour hire arrangements for labour hire companies, host companies and workers?
¨ What are considered to be appropriate solutions?
¨ Identifying who at law is the employer of labour hire workers (and the extent to which the position may vary according to the circumstances of engagement), and considering whether it would be appropriate to clarify or vary the position by way of regulation or statute.
¨ If it is appropriate to clarify or vary the position by statute should this
be by way of:
1. amendment to the NSW Industrial Relations Act 1996;
2. or amendment to other existing NSW legislation; or
3. new legislation?
¨ Consider if it is appropriate to clarify or vary the position by non-legislative means such as a labour hire industry Code of Practice to define the rights and obligations of both labour hire companies and host companies.
¨ Examining the desirability of :
1. applying industry specific legislation (eg governing long service leave), and awards or site enterprise agreements applying to a host company to workers hired out by a labour hire company; and
2. facilitating industry awards which apply solely to labour hire workers (along the lines of the Clerks' Temporary Employment Services (State) Award).
¨ Considering whether it would it be appropriate to clarify or vary the position at law regarding who is responsible for the occupational health and safety, and rehabilitation of labour hire workers; and
¨ Considering options which ensure the rights of workers of the labour hire company, and workers engaged by the host company, to organise and bargain effectively.
Costa issued a media release this week ending speculation that he would replace NSW Industrial Relations Commission in the NSW Legislative Council.
"While I believe it is important to increase the representation of trade unions at Macquarie Street, I have been persuaded that I can best serve the labour movement from my current position at present," he said.
"It is well known that I was expected to fill Jeff Shaw's Upper House position once it became vacant, but the Party does not believe the timing is right.
Costa said he had been prevailed on to stay for a number of reasons:
- to help John Della Bosca's transition to Minister for Industrial Relations;
- to ensure the successful industrial relations climate at the 2000 Olympics;
- to bed down several important projects which are critical to the Labor Council and the NSW ALP - including the move to an organising culture within the union movement, the finalisation of the Currawong Management Agreement and the establishment of critical training facilities there, the redevelopment of Trades Hall and the recently announced "getonboard" computer joint venture with the NSW ALP.
"Whilst I have accepted these requests I would put on record that it would be my intention to enter Parliament by way of either a more timely casual vacancy or as an endorsed candidate at the next State Election due in March 2003.
"The Party officers have indicated that they will unequivocally support this course of action. I look forward to continuing to represent the industrial interests of the workers of this State for the foreseeable future."
by Rowan Cahill
In a letter to locked out employees the company explained the lockout was formally over. Negotiations on matters in dispute would follow a return to work.
However if no resolution was reached after a month, then a new lockout would commence on 29 July and run through to September 4.
To emphasise the point Joy included with their letter official notification of the proposed lockout sanctioned by Reith's Workplace Relations Act.
Workers were told to begin work at 7a.m. July 4 or face the sack.
The letter went on to explain that if the company believed workers were "not negotiating in good faith," the lockout would take effect immediately.
Any worker the company construed as engaging in the intimidation or harassment of Joy scabs or contractors would also face the sack.
Unconfirmed reports suggest Joy intended to monitor worker behaviour with a special workshop security team.
The workers were affronted by the paternalism of the return to work notification, the Master and Servant sentiments expressed, the threats, and the lack of detail regarding negotiations.
Following the collapse of EBA negotiations earlier this year, about 70 workers were locked out of the Joy worksite in Moss Vale (NSW).
During this time they manned two picket encampments outside their worksite. Their activities, and those of their unions (the AMWU, AWU, and CEPU), were restrained by Supreme Court injunctions.
Discussions with the company during the lockout period were frustratingly fruitless.
At a meeting on Monday July 3, Joy workers rejected the company's return to work offer and formally withdrew their labour for a month, describing the letter as "industrial blackmail".
They also made clear to the company that genuine negotiations could take place at any time through union delegates and officials.
A problem in this dispute has been the perception that the company is reluctant to negotiate with the unions involved, seeking direct negotiations with workers instead.
Joy Mining is a subsidiary of the economically troubled American multi-national Harnischfeger Industries Inc.
Commenting on the latest events AMWU state secretary Paul Bastian said: "As part of its plans to Americanise industrial relations, Joy is asking workers to return to work with their hands tied behind their backs".
City Gig for Joy workers
Salsa super group BABALU and world music superstars EPIZO BANGOURA AND AFRICAN EXPRESS will feature in a fundraiser next week for 80 Moss Vale families doing it tough with their breadwinners locked out of their workforce by a ruthless multinational.
The Joy Engineering dispute is arguably the most important industrial dispute in NSW in 2000 and has devestated the southern highlands town where the factory is situated. A host of people who have stood in solidarity on the picket line have been sueued, including penniless students at Wollongong Uni, South Coast Labor Council Secretary Arthur Rorris and CFMEU Secretary Andrew Ferguson.
The night promises to be fantastic entertainment as well as a worthy cause. The gig kicks off at 7PM, Wednesday 12 July at the Harbourside Brasserie, Hickson Road Millers Point. Tickets are $10 and are available on the door on the night. Enquiries please call 0414 867 188.
Like all other owner drivers across the country for the past 6 to 12 weeks NSW Owner drivers have been receiving letters from their companies and freight forwarders, demanding they accept a cut in their rates and informing them of what their earnings are going to be after the 1st of July and the introduction of the GST.
In some instance owner drivers have been told that their rates have to fall by as much as $180 for a trip to Melbourne from Sydney. And in almost all instances drivers have been told that the new rates are not negotiable and that they cannot and will not change because they are a result of the introduction of the GST and other changes to the tax system.
Regardless of their reasoning transport companies and freight forwarders cannot unilaterally determine a reduction in the rates of owner drivers because of the introduction of the GST and other changes to the tax system without being able to justify a change. If they do change the rates and are found to be profiting from the changes then they, just like any owner driver found in the same position, face the prospect of enormous fines and penalties imposed by the Government's GST watch dog, the ACCC.
In response to the companies actions for the last 4 weeks NSW Owner Drivers from all sectors of the industry and their families have been making it clear to transport companies and freight forwarders that they are playing with fire if they have the audacity to cut their contract rates. A number of stop work meetings, of both union and non-union, members have already been held and union and non-union owner drivers and their families are gearing up for industry wide industrial action if any rates are unilaterally changed come the 1st of July.
Any changes to rates must be made in consultation with the actual drivers affected, and has to take into account all the costs, fees and charges, including those as a result of the new tax system, that are involved in an owner driver keeping their truck on the road and maintaining their standard of living and quality of life.
In NSW we are confident that these conditions can be meet, provided all owner drivers regardless of whether they are union members or not stick together, and make it clear to the industry and the Government that they are not going to get away with cutting your rates without taking everything into account.
If you want to join to fight to save your rates, contact the TWU for a copy of the GST Protocol prepared by the TWU to ensure owner drivers rates are protected circulating the industry to companies and freight forwarders to commit to. For a copy of the termination call or further information call the TWU on 02) 9912 0700.
by Andrew Casey
It was a case of youth culture clashing with work culture.
Should Belinda Faulkingham - employed at the Woden Tradesmen's Union Club in Canberra - be forced to quit her job because she has a discreet nose stud?
That was the story on Workers Online - and it has become a talking-point issue on a variety of radio stations.
The rights of young people in the workplace is one that needs to be promoted by trade unions.
Belinda's union - the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMU)- is active in Canberra in the creation of a Youth Charter.
The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) is currently running a Youth Campaign on the theme " The Future Starts Now'.
"Young people are beginning to organise to get a better deal in the workplace," Yvette Berry, the LHMU organiser in the ACT told Workers Online.
"The Belinda Faulkingham case has attracted a deal of attention."
At a time when they are feeling increasingly vulnerable at work, young activists are working with the rest of the Canberra union movement to develop a youth charter.
The ACT Trades and Labor Council is initiating the project to get people under the age of 25 active at work.
"Youths are one of the worst informed groups on their wages and conditions, health and safety, and their rights to join trade unions. The youth charter project aims to turn all this around," Ms Berry said.
Jeremy Pyner from the ACT TLC said: "A young worker has the same rights as every other worker. Unfortunately, unscrupulous bosses are taking advantage of young people's lack of knowledge to exploit them horribly."
"That's why we have decided to get young people together to develop a 'Youth Charter'. It might not be called a youth charter that's up to the youth committee to decide," he said.
If you are between 16 and 25 years of age and want to be involved in this project contact Jeremy Pynor on 6247 7844 and check out the ICFTU's web site www. icftu
by HT Lee
It was more good luck than good management that no one was injured or killed.
5,000 of the platforms were installed at the time of the accident--at least 4,000 of them were blown away.
The two seated 40 kilo-platform were build as a complete inter-locking unit. They were supposed to be installed together--the seats had the bolts to hold down the platform.
However, at the time of the installation the seats with the bolts 'were still on the way from Europe.'
Commonsense would have told any one not bolting down a platform in such an open space structure next to the beach is asking for an accident to happen.
Why then did the principal builder NUSSLI, a Swiss company instructed its principal sub-contractor to go ahead and installed the platforms?
Christian Kunzli, project manager of NUSSLI when contacted said they were not allowed to speak to the media. All maters had to be refereed to APP the project management consultant appointed by the Olympic Coordination Authority (OCA). But when APP was contacted the project manager Mick Boyd-Turner said the same thing--they were not allowed to speak to the media and all matters had to be refereed to Bob Dowden from the OCA.
Bob Bowden when contacted about whether there was an engineer's report allowing the platform to be installed without the seats said OCA don't provide day to day details conderning the running of the project to the media.
When I put it to him the information sorted was not about the day to day running of the project but about an accident--Bowden's reply was 'it was not an accident' because no one was hurt--'it was an incident.'
When asked why the inter-locking platforms were imported from overseas rather than made in Australia Bowden said there were thousands of materials used for the Olympic projects and some are imported from overseas.
There are many unanswered questions not forth coming from OCA:
· Why was an overseas company given the contract as principal builder?
· Why were the platforms and seats imported from overseas?
· Who issued the engineer's report giving the go-ahead to installed the platform without the seats and bolts?
· Which subcontractor was installing the platform?
· Were there proper safety procedures used for the installation of the platforms?
· Were there Labor-hire workers being used to install the platform?
· Was there pressure from OCA to rush through the project?
Bob Bowden was not very cooperative and that is quite understandable--it seems the attitude of OCA is that they are 'Gods' and we mere mortals and lesser beings should not be disturbing them with trivial questions about platforms 'blowing in the wind.'
by Dermott Browne
The union says the South Australian woman, Robin, was admitted to hospital over a weekend. Her teenage daughter called her mother's team leader on the Sunday night to tell her of the situation and to notify her that her mother would be off work for a number of days.
The team leader was not satisfied by the call, and over the next week repeatedly phoned the daughter, insisting the sick woman contact the team leader herself from hospital.
"Telstra's whole attitude to sick leave, and to the welfare of its staff in general is absolutely outrageous," CPSU assistant secretary Communications Branch Stephen Jones says.
"I believe Telstra is using South Australia's high unemployment rate to intimidate workers ... the aim being to erode conditions like sick leave."
"This is another example of how Telstra intimidates and pressures workers. No wonder service standards have plummeted," Jones say.
He made the comments as the Telecommunications Service Inquiry takes evidence in Adelaide this week. The CPSU has lodged a submission with the inquiry detailing the experiences and frustrations of its members working for Telstra.
Jones says staff at Telstra's numerous Adelaide call centres were working under extreme and unreasonable pressures to meet rapidly increasing performance and sales targets.
Of particular concern was the extra jobs consultants were expected to squeeze in between calls, and the fact they were given no time "off the phones" to study their learning briefs for the myriad of new services and products, GST changes and the like. This means customers were often dealing with people who did not have the necessary information to help them.
He says staff are also deeply concerned about Telstra's attitudes to workers with families, particularly in areas like the Mobilenet call centre. Women working part-time for family reasons have not been able to get their part-time contracts renewed.
by Zoe Reynolds
MUA Assistant National Secretary Mick O'Leary approached the rice growers co-op earlier this year as part of the union's involvement in the Friends of East Timor, Newcastle appeal.
Mr Cameron Prowse, Business and Commodity Market Manager, Rice Grower's Co-operative Ltd, agreed to donate the grain to the East Timorese, Mr Steve Ford of Toll Transport offered free transportation to Newcastle and the local wharfies said they'd donate their labour in getting it onto a ship.
But the only ships servicing Dili by the time the rice was ready, were Navy vessels. So Newcastle MP Bryce Gaudry (ALP) arranged for the shipment to go with the HMAS Jervis Bay fast sealift catamaran out of Sydney.
"The union has been working closely with Friends of East Timor up in Newcastle ince day one," said Mick O'Leary.
"We've got together dozens of containers of donations and arranged to have them shipped over -- clothing, canned food, cutlery, pots and pans, sanitary pads, plastic buckets, pens and pencils, chairs and tables, tents, bedding, sewing machines, bicycles, a carton of beer, iron roofing, hardware, picks and shovels, a water filter, surgery buckets, hospital trolleys and beds, an electro cardiogram machine, a massage table -- you name it.
"Friends of East Timor have even come up with a Toyota van and a Commodore to help get the aid out to the mountains and more remote areas."
The estimated $30,000 rice donation come from the 2000 rice farmers in the Murrumbidgee irrigation area around Leeton and Coleambally, in South West NSW.
"It's a collaborative effort, involving everyone from the union, the farmers, the transport guys, the navy and community groups here and in Dili," said Co-Op spokesperson Cameron Prowse. "It's an interesting combination. "
The 40 tonnes of rice, some medical supplies and a second hand Holden Commodore were loaded onto the HMAS Jervis Bay in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, for Dili Timor, this morning.
Soccer balls for East Timorese kids
Meanwhile, former Socceroo captain Alex Tobin is in East Timor with over $3,000 worth of soccer balls which will be distributed amongst the children at soccer camps in Dili and Alieu on Monday 3 July and Tuesday 4 July.
Tobin's two day visit was organised by the Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU) as a joint venture with Soccer Australia to help the youth of East Timor-soccer is the most popular sport there.
The soccer balls were purchased by the CFMEU for the kids through donation by union members many of whom are of Portuguese origin.
by Dermott Browne
Reith also wants to outsource the NOHSC library and end the close working relationship between NOHSC and the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme
NOHSC is the tripartite national body that coordinates and leads national occupational health and safety efforts and programs to prevent workplace death and injury in Australia.
The Commission consists of representatives from all Australian governments, and the peak workers and employers organisations - the ACTU and ACCI. It maintains technical expertise about chemicals and other hazardous substances.
CPSU has raised many concerns about Peter Reith's decision including the total lack of consultation with NOHSC's many stakeholders.
Malcolm Larsen, CPSU Senior Deputy President said, "The minister has failed to talk to anyone about this issue. His rash decision will impact on clients, industry groups, unions, employer associations, state governments, OH & S specialists, and NOHSC staff."
CPSU has called on the minister to justify his decision and is asking that the Commission instigate an open process of review on the issue.
"There is no rational reason for this move. It will lead to increased costs, a loss of expertise and further job losses. Just what is Mr Reith trying to achieve?" asks Larsen.
Most of the NOHSC's 135 Sydney based staff are not in a position to make the move to Canberra. "We are looking at another round of unnecessary and costly redundancies" added Mr Larsen.
Of particular concern is the decision to outsource the NOHSC's library.
"This library provides important up-to-the-minute OH&S data and expertise for all Australians, particularly small business. It also contains the oldest and mostimportant collection of records on occupational health & safety issues in Australia. It is a vital part of Australia's national heritage. What Peter Reith is proposing is nothing less than
vandalism," said Mr Larsen.
CPSU will continue to lobby NOHSC board members ahead of the board meeting on Wednesday 12 July.
Tax Workers Vote on Pay Rise
Meanwhile, after a long and sometimes bitter pay dispute that coincided with the introduction of the GST, CPSU members have voted to accept the Tax Office pay and conditions agreement offer.
Key aspects of the offer are:
§ 4% payrise backdated to 1 July 1999
§ 2% tax reform bonus
§ 2 further pay increases of 2% in December 2000 and April 2001 accompanied by 2% bonuses
§ new conditions for call centres and field staff
§ new conditions to balance work and family, such as a holiday child care program
Last week 69% of members supported a motion to accept the deal and to call off further industrial action. All Tax staff are now voting on the deal in a ballot closing 12 July.
"Our campaign was strongly supported by members and we were able to press the ATO to give more and more. The offer staff are voting on now is the Commissioner's 4th so-called final offer," CPSU's Tax Section Secretary Shane O'Connell said.
Although expected to be endorsed by a majority, a sizeable protest vote could be expected in response to Tax Commissioner Michael Carmody's refusal to convert the one-off 2% bonus for tax reform to an ongoing payrise.
The CPSU gained last minute concessions from the ATO, including agreement to fast track a new travel policy. With tax reform many ATO staff have been expected to spend excessive time travelling in order to get the job done. The ATO is now under pressure to develop an agreed system to not only reduce the current amount of travel, but also provide adequate compensation where it does occur.
Despite misgivings about pay, Shane O'Connell is happy with the outcome. "While we really thought our members were worth more, we have still managed to end up with a deal that keeps us at the forefront of public sector pay and conditions." "I am worried, though, whether the pay will be sufficient to keep well trained and professional staff from moving to more lucrative private sector jobs," cautions Shane.
Conservative ATO sources already admit to a 10% annual turnover of staff and expect this figure to rise, raising concerns about the ATO's ability to help business adjust to the new tax regime.
Recruitment to the union was strong during the campaign. In some weeks 50 or more new members joined up, many from ATO call centres and GST field operations.
by Peter Ross
Donald Woods is the former editor of the Daily Despatch newspaper in Eastern Cape and is best known as the newspaper chief who published editorials challenging the apartheid regime in South Africa, in particular its role in the death of young black activist Steve Biko. He was arrested in 1978 for his editorials challenging the apartheid policies of the former Government.
Woods was, as portrayed in the 1988 Sir Richard Attenborough film, "Cry Freedom", important in bringing an end to apartheid in South Africa, largely because of the tough economic sanctions he urged the rest of the Western world to impose on his government.
As an exile in 1978, Woods commenced his twelve-year campaign on the speakers' circuit by becoming the first civilian to address the UN Security Council. After living in the UK for the past 20 years, Woods recently spent 18 months in Johannesburg as the International Representative for Africa at the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ).
"I am eagerly looking forward to visiting Australia for the fourth time," he said. "I am interested in getting first hand briefings on local matters that have racial connotations. The difficulties faced by Australian indigenous people and also the breakdown of government in Fiji and the Solomon Islands will be two matters that I will write about upon my return to the United Kingdom.
"I have been most concerned to hear comments that some countries may be considering the introduction of apartheid style policies into their constitutions."
During his short tour of Australia and New Zealand, Woods will be addressing and informing audiences about the realities of the social, political and economic life in contemporary South Africa.
Dates are as follows:
Thursday 13 July - National Press Club, Canberra (12-2pm)
Monday 17 July - Brisbane City Hall, Brisbane (12-2pm)
Tuesday 18 July - Lyrics Restaurant, Adelaide Festival Centre (12.30 - 2pm)
Wednesday 19 July - Parliament House, Melbourne (12-2pm)
Thursday 20 July - Parliament House, Sydney (12-2pm)
Thursday 20 July - Sir John Clancy Auditorium, UNSW (6 - 7.30pm)
Friday 21 July - Western Australia Club, Perth (7.30-9am)
For booking information, please visit The Fred Hollows Foundation website at: www.hollows.com.au
Specifically, speakers will be discussing new policy agendas for a twenty-first century Federal Labor government, and vital reforms to party structure to enhance membership, internal democracy and policy-making. A strong emphasis is on a younger generation of Labor men and women keen to promote new ways of achieving social democracy in a time of rapid change.
A critical perspective unites the forum speakers. Topics to be discussed include trade, globalisation, work place democracy, education, managing cultural diversity, the media and the new information economy, indigenous land rights, unions, party structures, unemployment and foreign policy.
Expect a rigorous critique of orthodox economic ideas of both the right and the left, and new left-of-centre perspectives on public institutions that may no longer be meeting the objectives for which they were established. Speakers will be encouraged to sketch alternative models of governance which might better achieve traditional social democratic goals. The aim of the Unchain My Mind Forum is to promote critical thinking, open dialogue and audience participation.
A must-attend event for anyone interested in political reform, government, social change and Labor's future.
When: Thursday, 27 July, 9:30am to 6.00pm
Where: Trades Hall, cnr Victoria and Lygon Streets, Carlton, Melbourne - Council Chambers
Cost: $25 or $15 concession
Chaired in three sessions by ALP veterans Barry Jones, Joan Kirner and John Button(tbc)
Speakers include Lindsay Tanner, Mark Latham, Duncan Kerr Rebecca Huntley, Paul Mees, Glenn Patmore, Andrew Scott, Guy Rundle, Sharan Burrows, Michael Gadiel, Kate Lundy, Julia Gillard, Race Mathews, McKenzie Wark, Tony Moore and Mary Kalantzis.
Dinner and debate to follow the forum (to be paid for separately).
Topic "The Centre is Mine - Tony Blair, New Labor and the future of electoral politics" Speakers: Andrew Scott, Jim Claven and Dennis Glover. Chair: Kate Lundy
All welcome! Book now!
Four easy ways to book:
1. Print out the registration form and fax to: (02) 9519 8940
2. Mail the form to: Tony Moore, Pluto Press Australia, Locked Bag 199, Annandale NSW 2038
3. E-mail the form to: [email protected]
4. Telephone Pluto Press Australia on: (02) 9519 3299
I have been a Teachers Federation organiser in the Central West for 10 years and the Orange rally was the best example of union solidarity I have seen in the region.
The Cenrtal West Daily newspaper gave the story of the rally the whole front page, including a large coloured photograph with more on the inside pages.
I wish to bring your attention to the material on the violation of consumer rights I have published at http://members.optushome.com.au/globin and invite your comments on this sort of government policy.
Tom Collins says employees of the ATO should not consider industrial action to gain better pay and conditions, citing broader political considerations ahead of this particular group of employee's aims. This seems an unusual strategy to be promoted through ' Workers Online', particularly as he does not appear to work in the ATO, nor is he a CPSU member.
These matters aside it is always difficult for a union's leadership to recommend to its members if and when industrial action is appropriate. However I am concerned that the writer suggests that CPSU members should not even consider action in case it gives our employer (the Coalition Government) someone to blame later on!
The CPSU leadership, including the officials of the Tax section of the CPSU are aware of broader political considerations, but I think would be reluctant to let this unduly influence any recommendation about employees of the ATO considering whatever action is necessary to achieve better pay and conditions.
Finally the writer is advised that within the CPSU decisions to engage in, or cease, action are made by a vote of the members. Also membership of the CPSU Tax Section has grown strongly over the last 12 months.
What relief must be abounding in the New South Wales Trade Union Movement, at the news that Amanda Fazio has retired to the New South Wales Upper House?
This relief created, not so much with a bated expectation of great deeds from Amanda, but at the relief of not loosing the only pair of testosterone weighed spheroids resident in the Labor Council, the spontaneous, unpredictable and regularly rash Michael Costa.
While, I at times with tears of laughter running down my cheeks, have rolled in laughter at some of this mans' ridiculous antics. It must be acknowledged that he would achieve more for the Union member in New South Wales by accident, than other Union Bosses would with a lifetime of mediocre effort.
In fact, it would only be by accident that Mr. Costa achieves any of his radical goals, as he must have studied and applied the laws of Chaos to his entire life? Perhaps it is the Transcendental Meditation that makes Mr. Costa so charismatic; who knows it may even be the rarefied air at Trades Hall, and as everyone knows it is the home of flatulence!
But the fact is - The Senates' Loss, is the Union Movements' gain.
Eric Lee at the Labor Council last year
by Peter Coroneus
Peter Coroneus, Executive Director IIA
by Colin Lynch
The survey will assess the extent of workplace injury and stress in call centres. It will also collect data on working conditions and has a separate section which workers can indicate if they wish to become more involved in the campaign.
The campaign involves organisers distributing over 1,500 surveys to workers in the WA call centre industry. The findings of the survey will then be used to identify organising issues involved in the overall campaign strategy.
A special focus in WA is temporary agency workers. These workers are often employed on individual contracts with little job security, low wages and conditions. If they speak up or complain as one member said, "they just disappear they don't get employed again. We can be sacked with an hours notice". An important aim of the campaign is to ensure that workers have more say in how their workplace is organised.
The ASU Call Centre Organiser Michelle Sheehy said, "these issues are similar to those found in other ASU branches. Job security, stress, and individual contracts are the key issues for workers in this industry. Workers in this industry are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect from employers. They have valuable skills, which to date, have not been recognised by the industry. We hope that the survey will be a useful organising tool and because we are conducting it jointly with the university we think it will have important policy implications".
Based on these findings the campaign will emphasise the need for industrial regulation with the proposed ASU National Award forming the basis for minimum standards in the industry. To win this Award, though, will require workers to get organised at their workplace.
"We are not relying on the Award to solve the problems in this industry but where workers get organised, this will set a benchmark from which we will negotiate meaningful Certified Agreements, which recognise the important contribution call centre workers make to the industry" said Michelle.
This strategy means that a fundamental element of the WA campaign is the state's participation in the ASU national activists' network. The Branch has been discussing the role of this committee with activists and delegates see it as an integral part of the national ASU campaign. As Michelle says, "the bosses have got to realise that we are a key union in this industry and we are in this for the long haul. The campaign is built around a long term strategy and vision for this industry. The ASU does not expect immediate success although we have already had some very encouraging wins and are increasing membership steadily".
ASU branches in all Australian states have undertaken specific campaign strategies. Western Australia's strategy will produce the most sophisticated and robust industry data on stress yet collected.
Labor's Industrial Relations System - contributing to income and employment security
39. Security of employment is fundamental to income stability and to all aspects of personal and family life. Therefore the industrial relations system should provide significant protection for the security of workers' employment and of their wages and working conditions.
40. Industrial relations arrangements should serve social as well as economic goals. There must be emphasis on both achieving fair outcomes for workers and contributing to efficient enterprises.
41. The industrial relations framework should encourage cooperation not confrontation. A well informed and skilled industrial relations community is essential in producing these best practice outcomes. Government has a key role in promoting and fostering these developments.
42. Labor recognises that our industrial relations system must take account of the inherently unequal power balance existing between individual workers and their employer. This principle has long been accepted in Australian society and by virtually all national governments prior to the Howard Government. .
43. The rights and entitlements of workers, particularly the most vulnerable such as young workers, workers with disabilities and workers from non-English speaking backgrounds need to be supported and protected as a consequence.
44. This inherent imbalance requires a collective approach within the industrial relations system in order to deliver fairness.
45. The legitimate role of trade unions and their rights to organise, to take action on behalf of their members and on behalf of workers generally, and to bargain collectively, should be enhanced, recognised, and defended.
46. A strong and independent commission is vital to the fair and proper functioning of our system. The independent industrial commission needs a greater role to be able to prevent and resolve industrial disputes and to act in the interests of fairness and in the national interest.
47. A system of comprehensive, contempory and relevant awards is central to the security of workers, their wages and working conditions.
48. Workers must be able to participate in and share the benefits of the success of the enterprise or industry for which they work and of the economy as a whole.
49. While a system of work place-based collective bargaining will be continued, alternative ways for workers to achieve decent increases in wages and conditions should be promoted, including through the award system and industry based arrangements.
50. Labor will require an open process of reviewing workplace agreements:
· to ensure they meet a reasonable 'no disadvantage' test;
· to consider the consequences of an agreement for those outside the particular agreement (for example, other workers, future workers, the unemployed); and
· to protect the interests of these groups.
51. Nationally recognised high quality vocational training and skill development opportunities should be available throughout the workforce.
52. Non-discrimination will continue to be a central tenet of Labor's industrial relations policy. This includes a continuing commitment to equal remuneration for women, not just equal pay.
53. Labor will ensure that Australia's domestic industrial relations arrangements are consistent with its international obligations. Labor will restore Australia to a position of international leadership and pride.
54. Labor will:
· actively participate in and promote the development of international labour standards;
· assist countries in our region and beyond to meet those standards;
· promote free and democratic organisations to represent employees and employers; and
· actively support community campaigns to educate and mobilise the public concerning issues of child labour and forced labour.
55. In addition to reinvigorating our ties with the ILO Labor will provide funding to the ILO Asian Regional Organisation to assist its program of training and technical assistance and help with the development of unions in the region.
56. Labor recognises the valuable role played by Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad (APHEDA) in providing development assistance and aid to help build vital services and provide practical training and support to trade unions in developing countries. A Labor government will provide funding to APHEDA to enable it to meet this important need.
Protecting employee entitlements
57. Protection of employee entitlements in circumstances of company insolvency is an increasingly important aspect of income security. Labor's legislation to protect employee entitlements will be national and ensure that:
· all entitlements of employees are protected;
· payments to employees are timely;
· additional cost burdens placed on employers are minimised;
· that employers are not required to make additional payments for benefits already protected by trusts or other appropriate means;
· small business is protected from any additional costs; and
· corporations law is amended to enable recovery of assets in circumstances where corporate restructuring has the effect of denying workers their entitlements..
58. To enhance security of employee entitlements, Labor will legislate to provide for more timely payment of employees' superannuation contributions.
59. Labor will ensure that the superannuation system provides:
· essential protection for employees and for the superannuation contributions made by them or on their behalf;
· effective choice, without undermining successful industry funds;
· representative and balanced trustee structures; and
· an independent appeal process.
60. Labor will facilitate schemes that provide portability of leave entitlements between employers where those entitlements would otherwise be lost to the employee.
Contributing to personal and family security
61. The changing lifetime employment pattern of men and women requires the industrial relations system to increasingly adapt itself to actively balance work and family responsibilities. In particular greater attention needs to be given to the growing casualisation of the workforce, home based work, and dependent contractors, and the increasing demands on Australians in balancing work with personal and family life
62. The method of engagement of workers should not be a vehicle for denying them access to the independent industrial commission nor the usual range of entitlements and rights. Nor should it be designed to undermine their income or conditions.
63. A change in ownership of a business or similar corporate restructure should not be used as a means of evading pre-existing wages and conditions.
64. Labor recognises that many workers want part time and casual work and that these forms of employment are integral to many industries. Whilst acknowledging that all workers have a right to full time secure employment, Labor also supports the rights of workers to have part time work that is regular and secure and to have casual work that attracts appropriate entitlements.
65. An efficient labour market comprising full time, part time and casual employment must be based on fairness to employees.
66. It is in the long term interests of workers, industry and the nation that the increasing reliance in some areas on casualisation of the workforce be reduced and priority given to the provision of secure, good quality employment with career prospects.
67. The inability to balance the increasing pressures of work and personal life can result in loss of productivity for firms, increases in stress and related problems for workers and their families, and a worsening of social problems. Good industrial relations have an important role to play in retaining well qualified and highly motivated workers.
68. Labor will hold an inquiry to examine the growth in contingent and insecure employment and its effects on workers and their families and to recommend measures which would promote greater employment stability for workers and better balance of work and family responsibilities. Labor will work with industry and unions to pursue effective and viable solutions to these important issues.
A Fair Industrial Relations System
The legal framework
69. Labor will introduce new industrial relations legislation to:
· put fairness back into the legislation;
· give a greater role to the independent industrial commission to act in the national interest and in the interest of fairness and equity;
· ensure that the powers and objects of the independent industrial commission are adequate to deal with any industrial matter;
· provide enhanced resources for the enforcement of awards and agreements;
· ensure that the independent industrial commission has the authority and resources to establish comprehensive and effective award coverage;
· change the emphasis from an approach based on sanctions to one based on conciliation and where necessary arbitration;
· reduce excessive legalism and prohibitive cost barriers to accessing rights; and
· abolish the office of the Employment Advocate.
70. Labor will abolish Australian Workplace agreements (AWAs), which are secretive, unreviewable and unfair.
71. Collective bargaining should be promoted through a fair and simple stream of workplace, enterprise and industry wide agreements, negotiated with trade unions or employees and consistent with International Labour Organisation (ILO) obligations and will:
· ensure a reasonable 'no disadvantage' test is met for agreements provided for under the Act, which includes relevant award or agreement rates of pay and conditions and protects worker's rights to representation of their choice;
· ensure the transparency of the agreement review and registration processes;
· provide that the independent industrial commission and affected parties are aware of and able to participate in the review of agreements provided for under the Act;
· prohibit discrimination against those who wish to bargain collectively and be represented by a union; and
· provide that workers and their representatives have access to appropriate information from which to make informed decisions.
72. The right of all workers to democratic collective representation by unions should be recognised and protection provided from discrimination against workers based on trade union membership or activity.
73. The development of representative organisations, which can meet common registration and accountability requirements, should be fostered, including by necessary training and education.
74. A reasonable right of entry should be allowed for union officials to workplaces for the purposes of communication, organisation, recruitment and assistance to workers.
75. The protection of the industrial relations system should be extended beyond a narrow definition of employees to include those in employment-type relationships.
76. Protection against unfair dismissal should be provided to all workers, irrespective of the size of their employer's business.
77. Public sector workers should have access to the full range of independent industrial commission powers to resolve industrial disputes and promote collective bargaining, and where appropriate, have access to paid rates awards. Labor will discontinue the use of individual contracts for members of the Australian Public Service below the Senior Executive Service level.
78. All industrial matters should be removed from the Trade Practices Act and be regulated by industrial law.
79. Comprehensive programs aimed at achieving compliance with the regulatory regime and proactive approaches aimed at securing protection of workers' rights and entitlements should be developed and implemented.
80. Compatibility of Commonwealth and State industrial relations systems should be sought.
81. Incomes policy should be directed to the following social and economic goals:
a. fair distribution of the benefits of economic success;
b. job creation and sustained low inflationary growth;
c. ensuring equal remuneration for women not just equal pay;
d. special attention to the interests of the most vulnerable such as the low paid, young workers, workers with disabilities and workers from non-English speaking backgrounds;
e. reasonable opportunities for workers to protect and enhance their living standards without working excessive hours or enduring excessive stress;
f. competitive Australian enterprises based on a well-paid, highly skilled, flexible and motivated workforce; and
g. the need to address the growing disparity between of incomes in Australia.
82. Labor will establish cooperative mechanisms with participation from the wider industrial relations community to consider current issues and future developments in industrial relations. These issues will also be examined in the context of broader industry, employment, education, and social issues. As part of these mechanisms Labor will support industry level forums to promote discussion and resolution of relevant industrial relations matters.
83. A new basis for a cooperative incomes policy should be established on the following:
· recognition that where workers express a clear preference for a particular type of industrial instrument to cover their wages and conditions, the parties in that matter should have an obligation to negotiate in good faith to successfully conclude such an instrument;
· recognition that collective bargaining should remain an important option for workers and employers;
· no worker should be required to enter into an enterprise bargain because the industrial relations system provides no other way to achieve decent wage increases or maintain reasonable working conditions;
· maintenance and enhancement of relevant award standards and wage rates in a manner consistent with overall social and economic objectives, through direct dialogue with unions and employers and through regular national wage cases conducted by the independent industrial commission; and
· recognition that a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to wage determination is neither desirable nor appropriate.
Promoting Safe workplaces
84. Whilst occupational health and safety remains primarily a State responsibility, the national government can and should do more to ensure appropriate standards are applied for Australian workers irrespective of where they work. The following principles should be applied:
· increased resources for research, standards setting, information and inspection at the national level, and by grants to State, local and industry/enterprise level where appropriate;
· uniform minimum standards of compensation and other rights for injured workers; and the encouragement of tripartite industry forums on occupational health and safety.
85. States should not be able to gain relative economic advantage by cutting the benefits available to injured workers.
86. A Labor government will work with the States to achieve a nationally consistent occupational health and safety framework which reflects best safety practice within Australia, and which is consistent with the best international standards. This framework should be clear and capable of enforcement at the workplace level.
87. The National government should, in consultation with State governments, develop and maintain a uniform national system of occupational health and safety statistics which detail the incidence of deaths and injury from exposure to hazards in the workplace.
88. The National government should encourage the States to provide comprehensive rehabilitation programs, and should itself provide such programs within its own areas of responsibilities.
89. Workers must be protected in relation to occupational health and safety with an emphasis on the prevention of disease, injury and accidents. Rehabilitation programs should be promoted. Compensation should enable injured workers to maintain living standards through an income related benefit until rehabilitation has been achieved or during the period when disability prevents a return to the workforce.
A fairer distribution of work
90. Labor recognises that there is a strong connection between deregulation of the labour market and increased inequality in the distribution of work and income.
91. Labor will encourage and promote incentives for implementation by national, state and local governments and private employers, in consultation with trade unions and employers, of voluntary schemes such as:
o career break schemes;
o early retirement schemes;
o balancing the emphasis on wages/hours/jobs to reflect agreed enterprise or industry priorities;
o recruitment to new positions based on shorter hours;
o job sharing; and
o productivity gains being taken in the form of shorter hours.
92. Labor will support working time arrangements only where they:
· are consistent with employee preferences;
· result in enhanced wages and conditions over time;
· result in reducing excessive overtime; and
· are designed to maximise employment creation.
93. Labor will develop incentives to encourage the employment of extra staff rather than excessive hours for those already in work, and to encourage preference for secure full-time and part-time employment over casual employment.
94. Labor will examine measures to reduce the pressure for increased amounts of unpaid overtime even amongst low paid workers.
95. Labor will consult and work with employers, unions and community organisations to remove obstacles to the employment of people with disabilities in fair and non-exploitative ways.
Promoting industrial democracy and cooperative workplaces
96. The following principles should be pursued:
· the right of workers to meaningful participation in decision making in the workplace about industrial matters;
· the right of workers and their representatives to be consulted before decisions that will have a significant effect on employment or work generally are implemented;
· the extension of industrial democracy and other modern forms of work organisation in major enterprises and workplaces;
· encouragement of employee share ownership programs; and
· assistance for the development of cooperatives.
by Andrew Casey
The threat follows a tear gas attack on colleagues at the nearby upmarket Seoul Lotte Hotel.
The use of riot squads and tear gas to break up the three week strike at the Lotte Hotel, and the imprisonment and jailing of hotel union officials, has created an international furore.
Foreign guests staying at the Seoul Lotte - which is part of a Japanese-owned Korean chain - watched stunned as riot police dragged workers - often bleeding from the baton attacks - out of the hotel in a three hour action.
The attack on the striking hotel workers was followed by a similar raid on workers occupying the building of the National Health Insurance Corporation.
And the Korean Federation of Tourism Workers Unions has alerted the international union movement - through their international affiliate the IUF - of the possibility of similar action at the Swiss Grand Hotel and the Hilton in Seoul.
The IUF - the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Association - has urgently requested protest messages be sent to the government of Korea and to the management of the Lotte Hotel.
" The danger exists that the violence against trade unions will escalate, it is vital that you register your protest now," IUF General Secretary, Ron Oswald, said.
The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has also written strong letters to the President of Korea, Kim Dae-Jung, and the boss of the Lotte Hotel Groups, Shin Kyuk-ho.
The ICFTU and the IUF are backing calls from the militant national trade union centre, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions ( KCTU) calling for international support.
More than 1,100 hotel workers - employed at the Seoul Lotte Hotel - were detained, and at least 33 workers were injured. Ten pregnant women were among those exposed to the riot police forces tear gas attack.
The workers - members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions affiliated hotel union - have been involved in three weeks of strikes and protests to back demands for:
· a 17 per cent wage increase,
· changes in the employment status of part-time workers to full-time workers,
· changes in the retirement age, and
· a 40 hour working week
The strike and protests ended violently early on the morning of Thursday June 29 when riot police invaded the hotel.
The Lotte Hotel Workers were stunned at this reaction because they had earlier gone out of their way to co-operate with the authorities by suspending their protests and strikes in what they thought was ' the national interest'.
Their luxury hotel had been chosen by the government to host the International Press Centre for the historic summit between North Korea's Chairman Kim Jong Il and South Korea's President Kim Dae-Jung.
You can keep up with the situation in Korea by logging onto the following website: www.labourstart.org/korea
Write solidarity letters/ send e-mails to:
Mr Shin Kyuk-ho, Chairman
Lotte Hotels Group
1, Sogong-Dong Chung-Ku
Republic of Korea 100-070
Fax:82 2 759 7001
H.E. Kim Dae Jung
The President of the Republic of Korea
The Blue House
1 Sejong-no, Chongno-gu
Republic of Korea
Fax: 82-2-770 02 53
Send copies of solidarity letters to
The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions
5th floor Daeyoung Bld
Fax: 82 2 2635 1134
by Peter Murphy
In the elections on June 24-25, 2000, the Movement for Democratic Change won 57 seats, while ZANU-PF won 62 seats, and a minor party won one seat, making a total of 120 in all.
The President, Robert Mugabe, has the power to appoint a further 30 MPs, giving ZANU-PF a total of 92 seats out of 150.
However, MDC - only launched last September by a coalition of trade union, women, student and professional organisations - now has over one-third of the parliament. Under the Constitution, this means that President Mugabe can no longer unilaterally amend the Constitution.
MDC is also challenging the result in 27 seats, based on fraud or gross intimidation. MDC is likely to overturn most of these results in the courts and there will be a series of by-elections where the vote will take place under the scrutiny of the entire country - conditions under which MDC is likely to win.
Local Government elections take place in August, and on the recent vote, MDC will win control of all cities and towns.
Mrs Sekai Holland lost the election for Mberengwa East by a massive 21,000 to 3,000. However, the irregularities of the count, and the gross violence and intimidation in the months leading up to the vote, make her legal challenge to the result very strong.
On June 29, the police in Mataga arrested Big Chitoro and his gang of thugs who have terrorised MDC in Mberengwa East, and invited Mrs Holland and her supporters to lay charges. She is there now to assist wounded and homeless supporters and to pursue legal action. This police initiative is an indicator of the new mood in Zimbabwe as the people realise how weakened President Mugabe and ZANU-PF are. The days of his regime are numbered.
MDC has named a 15-member shadow cabinet, led by Gibson Sibanda, a train driver from Bulawayo who is the President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and President of the Commonwealth Trade Union Secretariat.
At an MDC Executive meeting in Harare on June 28, MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai said: "We want to thank a number of people, first and foremost the people of Zimbabwe for showing incredible determination to cast their vote. We bow our heads in sadness at the loss of 31 brave people who stood their ground for democratic ideals. Our hearts are filled with sadness at the tremendous loss their families have experienced, and the incredible trauma to wives and children. We have been moved by the commitment of those families to continue to support the Movement for Democratic Change and the quest for peace and freedom in this land.
"We thank those who have died, been beaten, or raped, their properties destroyed or they themselves, and their families displaced for continuing in their commitment. Their sacrifices have been considerable and we are in awe of their courage.
"We thank election observers for their presence in this country and for the sincerity and openness with which they approached their task. And then of course we need to thank the media for working very hard, and sometimes at personal risk, to try and present a true reflection to the world of what has been occurring in Zimbabwe."
"The staff at the Support Centres have worked for months, mostly with no pay and under a situation of very scarce resources to build the MDC and further its aims. Their sense of teamwork has inspired us all. Despite rumours to the contrary the MDC has relied on the kindness of all for cash, donations and voluntary services. The premises the campaign operated from was loaned, so were our computers, printers, the paper we used, the vehicles, the ink, the staples. We regularly sent out appeals asking for donations of such minor items as paper clips, staplers, toner and glue.
We were never disappointed.
"Indeed, civil society which had become moribund for 20 years in Zimbabwe has reawoken, there is a new energy and a new purpose. Zimbabweans will never again submit. We ask those who have helped thus far not to reduce their efforts, our real work begins now."
"The homes of hundreds of our supporters have been burnt to the ground, the vehicles of many destroyed, their crops and small farming projects razed. We need assistance to help those people recover and move forward.
by Lee Rhiannon
Meanwhile north of the border Greens Presidential hopeful, Ralph Nader, is averaging 7% across the USA.
The new Mexican President, Vicente Fox, from the National Action Party heads up the Alliance for Change which includes 23 Greens members of parliament. The electoral defeat of the rightwing Institutionalised Revolutionary Party, which has ruled Mexico continuously for 71 years, should mean an end to the systematic violence against the Zapatista in the southern state of Chiapas.
Mexican Greens are strongly committed to holding President Fox to the Alliance's promise to withdraw 40,000 troops from Chiapas, an area rich in oil and uranium.
The Zapatista struggle has received ongoing global attention since their uprising in 1994, largely due to the movement's use of online technologies. Speeches of Marcos, a Zapatista leader, are transmitted by internet while he remains in hiding in the mountains of Chiapas.
The struggle in Mexico for an economy responsive to human rights and environmental concerns has struck a worldwide chord of sympathy. The challenge for the fledgling Mexican government is that it adheres to these principles.
In the US Ralph Nader, running hard with a Greens Presidential nomination, has campaigned in all 50 states and is developing close links with organised labor. Teamsters' leader, James Hoffa, has publicly congratulated Nader and warned Democrat nominee, Al Gore, that Teamster members should not be taken for granted.
Time magazine reports that in a behind the scenes meeting before their joint press conference Nader impressed the Teamster leaders "with his knowledge of the National Labor Relations Board policies governing union elections".
To date Greens have been elected to a handful of local offices. With Nader on the Presidential election trail the Greens are key players in the Gore-Bush battle for the White House, with pressure mounting on the Democrats to shift to the left.
Australians will have the opportunity to hear first hand accounts of these Greens campaigns. Representatives from both Mexico and the US Greens are expected to join thousands of Greens at the Global Greens conference to be held in Canberra in April 2001. This international gathering is open to anyone who shares the Green vision for a more economically just, peaceful and humane world.
by Megan Elliott
The new NSW Teachers Federation site
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LaborNET is a resource for the labour movement provided by the Labor Council of NSWURL: http://workers.labor.net.au/61/print_index.html
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005