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Workers Online
  Issue No 63 Official Organ of LaborNet 21 July 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Paul Keating's Big Picture
The former Prime Minister is still painting on a broad canvass. He talks to Workers Online about the new economy, fair trade and political chi.
*  Unions: War in the West
Only six months after signing individual staff contracts, the gloss has worn off for some of BHP's Pilbara iron ore workers.
*  Environment: Farmers Fudge DNA Dangers
Farmers have missed the chance to have a meaningful debate into the use of genetically modified crops.
*  International: 'Dot Union' Proposal on the Table
ICANN, the global governing body of Internet domains, has released the following expression of interest in proposing a top-level domain for trade unions
*  Economics: Edge of the Abyss
Political economist Frank Stilwell argues that a constellation of events gives good reason to be worried about the Australian economy.
*  History: Taming the Tigers
Prominent labour historian, Dr Ming Chan, is visiting Australia to report on how workers are faring in the new Hong Kong.
*  Review: Music is Crap
It's already the second half of the first year in the new millenium. Who would have ever predicted a crisis in the popular music industry when we are at such an advanced stage ?
*  Satire: Last Kosovars Found Behind Couch
State Emergency Services personnel were called to a house in Brighton this morning, where the last five remaining Kosovar refugees have been found wedged behind a couch.

Pilbara Battle Moves to the Courts

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Keating and the Big Picture

Unions Lead Ethical Investment Push
The superannuation fund covering local government workers is leading the charge into ethical investment by dumping its shares in tobacco companies.
[ Full Story » ]

Surfing Good for Productivity - Management Experts
A scare campaign by a web security company has been diffused by a string of business experts who say that employers who allow their staff to surf the web actually increase productivity.
[ Full Story » ]

Third World Conditions For Rural Workers
Female seasonal rural workers are being forced to squat behind rows of lettuces, eat their lunches off discarded chemical drums and share communal showers because there are no amenities.
[ Full Story » ]

Downer's Fiji Muddle Deepens
The Howard Government has been accused of granting trade concessions to Fiji at the same time as they are considering imposing sanctions over the overthrow of democratically elected leader Mahendra Chaudhury.
[ Full Story » ]

Hotel Worker Survey Questions Olympics Preparation
Nearly three quarters of Sydney Hotel workers are convinced that their management has made little or no preparations for the Olympics - which are just eight weeks away - according to a Hotel Union survey.
[ Full Story » ]

BHP Holds Gun to Kembla's Head
BHP has been accused of corporate blackmail by threatening to withdraw future investment from the Port Kembla region if plans to contract out 1,000 jobs are actively opposed.
[ Full Story » ]

A Burning Issue as Joy Campaign Goes National
Two workers at Joy Manufacturing's Coniston depot (Wollongong) suffered burns last week when hot oil sprayed from a broken hydraulic ram, as a national campaign against the company's backers gathers steam.
[ Full Story » ]

Garbos Forced to Ditch Early Start
Waste workers in Sydney's south are bucking up over plans to force them to start their garbage runs later in the day - claiming it will make the work more dangerous.
[ Full Story » ]

Telstra - Making it Sleazier For You
Telstra call-centre staff have begun a major industrial and lobbying campaign against a plan to tape all calls customers make to the company.
[ Full Story » ]

Inquiry Blows Lid on Long Distance Trucking
The NSW Motor Accidents Authority Safety Inquiry into the Long Distance Trucking Industry commenced public hearings in Newcastle today.
[ Full Story » ]

Cab Company Highlights Labor Hire Quandry
Evidence has emerged of underpayment of labour hire workers in the taxi industry, with allegations that employers are pressuring labour hire firms to flout the award.
[ Full Story » ]

What Olympics Jobs? Asks the AWU
Howls of laughter reverberated around the Sydney office of the Australian Workers Union after reading the news that the Federal government could cancel job seekers dole benefits if they do not chase Olympic Games jobs.
[ Full Story » ]

Republican Elections Called for August
The Australian Republican Movement (ARM) has opened its nomination process for forthcoming elections to be held at the end of August.
[ Full Story » ]

STOP PRESS: Landmark Legal Ruling on Asbestos
The NSW Court of Appeal has found a Commonwealth authority breached its duty of care to waterside workers, ending a 12 year battle.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Fair Go on Fair Trade

  • Fair Trade a Protectionist Smokescreen

  • Maxine's Tool Time

  • Telstra Rats

  • Man in a Handmade Suit

  • The Ideological Sound

  • Editorial

    Catching the Wave

    Former Prime Minister Paul Keating may have been out of political life for nearly five years now, but his ability to explain complex issues with vivid word pictures has not diminished.

    His exclusive interview with Workers Online this week chrystalises some of the important contemporary issues that we have been trying to chart in a way that seems to elude our current crop of leaders.

    Take globalisation: Keating is right to state that Australia must be at the front of the wave of change - 'not sloshing around the back' - which is where he sees the 'fair traders'.

    But, to extend the analogy further, there has to be more to it than just lying in the water waiting to be hit and seeing where we end up. We need to work out the best way to surf - body-bashing, a boogie board or a state-of-the-art twin fin.

    Working people need to think laterally about how to get the most of these myriad changes embodied in the New Economy- and if the old levers don't work we must look at new ones.

    The Rio Tinto campaign is a case in point - communicating across national boundaries - not just with workers but with the shareholders who ultimately own the company has proven to be a successful tactic.

    And as the Local Government Super Fund shows this week, using workers retirement savings in an ethical manner is an emerging and potent force in a world where capital reins.

    Indeed, furthering economic democracy is the silent issue for progressive thinkers struggling to forge a positive agenda for the information age.

    And perversely - for those who find Keating's economics repugnant - his legacy of universal superannuation provides the opportunity to seize some degree of worker control of their destiny.

    The industry funds are a latent force for promoting the interests of working poeple in this new environment. Only now are we beginning to see the first signs of fund activism

    By thinking outside the square, many of the objectives - in terms of improving global labour and environmental standards - could be met, without wholly relying on the traditional tool kit of strikes and tariffs.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Lord David Puttman on The Creative Economy Soccer Balls for Timor Paul Howes' Week on the Web Duncan Gay - 'A Tradesman's Appliance'



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