|Issue No 79||24 November 2000|
Alarm Bells Start Ringing on WorkCover
Trade unions are raising concerns about the direction of the state's workers compensation scheme now under its new leadership.
Both the NSW Nurses Association and the CFMEU have written to Labor Council this week outlining concerns about changes to the operation, policies and structure of WorkCover NSW.
The CFMEU is organizing a protest outside WorkCover's office next Monday (November 27) to draw attention to proposals to reduce first aid standards, through a new consolidated regulation on occupational health and safety,
The CFMEU's Brian Miller told Labor Council delegates the move would see a return to Third World conditions on building sites by lifting the requirement that a dedicated First Aid room be provided on all major projects.
Among the concerns from the Nurses Association are:
- consultation with unions in the wake of the decision to abolish the OHS Council and the Workers Compensation Advisory Council. The Nurses say WorkCover should be making more effort to use the Industry Reference Groups to talk to stakeholders. The IRGs were established along with the Advisory Council to devolve power to unions and employer representatives.
- selection of union representatives to consultative committees. The Nurses say WorkCover is selecting people to represent employees on committees without consultation with the relevant trade unions.
- loss of expertise within WorkCover as a result of downsizing, restructuring and the proposed move to Gosford. The Nurses say this is affecting WorkCover's ability to give advice to employers and unions and has led to errors in a number of recent prosecutions.
- access to information, following WorkCover's shift to placing information and education materials exclusively on the Internet. Given fewer than 20 per cent of employees currently have access to the Net at work, the Nurses say it is vital to continuting providing these materials in hard copy form.
The Nurses have urged Labor Council to take the issues up with the new Minister for Industrial Relations John Della Bosca. Labor Council secretary Michael Costa says he'll seek a meeting as a matter of urgency.
Interview: Back on Track
After blowing the whistle on rail privatization, NSW Transport Minister Carl Scully is rebuilding bridges with the trade union movement.
Unions: The Problem with Organising
It may be the new mantra, but Brisbane Institute director Peter Botsman argues that organising may be the wrong to go for a movement attempting to attract a new breed of workers.
International: Burma: Workers Act on ILO Ruling
Energy workers' trade unions across the Asia-Pacific have urged Western oil and gas companies to "cease investment in Burma while the use of forced labour continues".
Economics: Rethinking Incomes Policy
While many have thrown incomes policy out with the Acoord bathwater, Graham White argues it still has a role to play.
History: What Goes Around Comes Around
Labor Council's Mark Lennon argues that while trade unions - and labour history - might be unfashionable, there's life left in both of them.
Education: Peas in a Pod
Both sides of politics must take blame for funding levels in our public schools, argues NSW Teachers Federation president Sue Simpson.
Satire: Hurley Rebukes Actors' Guild: I'm No Actor!
Liz Hurley has responded angrily to claims by actors that she crossed a picket line by filming an Estee Lauder ad.
Review: It's Only a Job
In a stunning new book, author Phil Thornton and photographer Paul Jones have combined to portray working life in all its diversity through the eyes of ordinary people like process worker Sharonak Shannon
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005