Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 70 Official Organ of LaborNet 07 September 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: New Internationalism
In its battle with Rio Tinto the CFMEU has pioneered global campaigning. National Secretary John Maitland talks to Workers Online about globalisation, a union response and using new technologies to organise .
*  History: Pickets and Police
S11 protestors would do well to be wary. Fred Paterson, CPA member of the Qld Parliament, was bashed by the Queensland police on St Patrick's Day 1948, when a Labor Government was in power in that state.
*  Education: The WEF -Why Should We Care?
An event like the World Economic Forum attracts all the spin doctors for every interest, often obscuring real issues. For educators the issues may seem remote but a closer look shows that services like public education could be dramatically affected by the unfolding agenda of global trade liberalisation says Rob Durbridge.
*  Economics: A Vandalised Economy
Since New Zealand was opened up to the forces of globalisation, it has performed dismally, both economically and socially. NZCTU Economist Peter Conway reports.
*  Unions: Our Vital Role in Society
Eight months into his new role as ACTU Secretary Greg Combet reflects on the challenges facing Australian unions.
*  International: Turning Up The Heat
John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO says the union movement can and will reform the global economy, for as Dr Martin Luther King taught us, the moral arc of history is long but it bends towards justice.
*  Satire: Threat to withhold pocket money derails S11 protest
MELBOURNE, Tuesday: Members of the activist collective S11 announced today that they had decided to cancel their protest at the upcoming World Economic Forum meeting at Crown Casino.

AFL CIO's John Sweeney

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Wobbly Radio


Nike: Called to Account

Nike Slammed Over Indonesian Factories
A new report into Nike's Indonesian factories claims the company uses aggressive and threatening behaviour towards union activists, subjects female workers to humiliating physical examinations and often requires workers to work more than Nike's 60 hours per week limit.
[ Full Story » ]

Fairfax Joins Ferals
The Fairfax media group has become one of a select few employers in this country in the past week by thinking that a lock-out of workers is a good way to resolve an industrial dispute.
[ Full Story » ]

Federal Government Blocks Rail Merger
Rail unions in New South Wales have condemned the decision by the Federal Government to block the amalgamation of FreightCorp and National Rail. The Rail Bus and Tram Union says it could cost up to 600 rail jobs.
[ Full Story » ]

Auditor-General Blows Whistle On Outsourcing Madness
The Auditor General has released a damning report on public sector information technology (IT) outsourcing which shows the exercise has failed to deliver anything like the savings promised by the Government.
[ Full Story » ]

Fly By Night Labour Takes Off
The Flight Attendants Association of Australia is one of many unions fighting the trend towards labour hire, and in a submission to the Labour Hire Inquiry shows that the problem now has a global dimension.
[ Full Story » ]

CFMEU Rejects Reith Mischief
The CFMEU has rejected claims by Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith's that it was setting up a first aid marquee in anticipation of violence at the S11 protest in Melbourne next week.
[ Full Story » ]

The Organised Olympics
Sydney is shaping up as the most unionized Olympics ever with over 10,000 workers at Olympic venues signing up under the Unions 2000 banner.
[ Full Story » ]

Killjoy Reith Targets Picnics and Fun
The CFMEU Construction Division has invited members of a Senate Committee to attend their annual Picnic Day to show them how important they are to hard working construction workers and their families.
[ Full Story » ]

New Economy Spawns New Plagues
A number of workers have had to leave the call centre industry because of new diseases such as noise sensitivity and they are not covered by workers' compensation as they are not considered to be "industrial deafness" caused by work.
[ Full Story » ]

Multi-national Stymies Peace Talks
The long running Moss Vale Joy Mining Machinery dispute is set to continue with workers voting on Tuesday to continue strike action until October 9.
[ Full Story » ]

Greed of the Fatcats
American Chief Executive pay has skyrocketed by 535 per cent during the 1990s according to a new report. Fatcat salaries far outpaced the 116 per cent rise in corporate profits and dwarfed the 32 per cent increase in average worker pay for the same period.
[ Full Story » ]

Women Challenge Prejudice in Maritime Industry
Patrick Stevedores forced women workers to use men's urinals for nine months at its Webb Dock terminal in Melbourne before providing female toilets, woman seafarers were considered unsuitable for the higher paid night shift on "safety grounds", and an equipment contractor in regional Queensland threatened to withdraw a crane if a woman operated it.
[ Full Story » ]

Building Union Raises $42,000 For Paralympians
At a fundraiser organised by the CFMEU for three paralympian swimmers held at at Pymont yesterday building workers, subbies and builders dug deep into their pockets to raise a formidable $42,000.
[ Full Story » ]

Get Organised! NZ Unions Tell Army
The only way Kiwi soldiers can improve their pay and conditions of employment is to get organised and bargain collectively with their employers according to New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Its time to stop the pretence

  • Editorial

    Return of the Repressed

    It doesn't seem so long since the annual economic talkfest in Davos was on, this week we have the UN Millenium Summit in the United States and next week the World Economic Forum is to be held in Melbourne.

    Sometimes it seems there is a Grand Prix Circuit of Globalisation Conferences not unlike Formula One.

    Naturally debate about globalisation is to be encouraged. For too long governments and corporations - those holding all the power - have been talking to each other in a bubble without a lot of consultation with the grassroots of humanity about the revolutionary economic changes in play.

    The outrageous secrecy which surrounded the Multilateral Agreement on Investment and the undemocratic nature of the institutions which oversee the world economy haven't done a lot to inspire confidence that the interests of ordinary citizens are a high priority in this new world.

    The winners from globalisation are doing spectacularly well but for the majority of citizens massive job insecurity, unemployment, and a growing gulf between the low paid and the well off is the tough reality.

    Unions around the world are leading the charge to ensure working people aren't treated as mere cogs in this new economic regime.

    We know the global economy doesn't float in outer space, that organized labour still has the ability to change how wealth is redistributed and that governments are anything but powerless before the multinationals.

    Instead of the one dimensional debates skewered to the interests of the rich that have characterised globalisation so far working people want their say: jobs, democracy and fairness must be the priorities of politics and economics.

    WEF participants take note: the repressed voice of workers has returned.

    Noel Hester


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