Workers Online
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Workers Online
  Issue No 80 Official Organ of LaborNet 01 December 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Chewing the Fat with Della
In a rare extended interview, NSW 's new industrial relations minister State John Della Bosca outlines his vision for the new workplace.
*  Unions: Organising - There Is No Choice
LHMU national secretary Jeff Lawrence responds to Brisbane Institutue director Peter Botsman's attack on organising.
*  Corporate: The Riddles of Democracy at Telstra
Shareholder activist Stephen Mayne explains how the big guys ran roughshod when he and trade union activists attempted to stand for the Telstra board.
*  Education: Training for Change
Labor Council's Michael Gadiel outlines a traiing agenda for the 21st century.
*  History: A Stack of Hypocrits
Ballot rigging, sanctioned by the courts, sponsored by the government were a Liberal Party and Bob Menzies speciality - and they introduced legislation to legalise it.
*  International: African Unions Go To War Against AIDS
The war on AIDS is now the number one priority of the ICFTU's African Regional Organization (AFRO), which has launched an ambitious five-year action plan in nine of the most severely afflicted African nations.
*  Satire: Teenage Hackers Behind Shock Cabinet Reshuffle
Seasoned front-benchers and political greenhorns alike were joined in stunned surprise today, as a sudden Cabinet reshuffle radically altered the shape of the Federal Government.
*  Review: Manufacturing Dissent
A new production explores Australian's approach to refugees and their experiences coming to a strange land.

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Australia's Most Trusted

It's Official: Union Leaders More Trusted than Bosses!
Trade union leaders are considered substantially more trustworthy than CEOs, economists and politicians, according to an online poll run this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Reith Isolated on Workers Entitlements
The Howard Government today failed to win the support of a single state for its scheme to protect worker entitlements, with even Coalition states saying it is inadequate.
[ Full Story » ]

Light for Shafted Woodlawn Miners
After nearly three years, the wait for justice for 160 Woodlawn miners may be over after the Carr Government approved a plan to convert the disused Southern NSW mine into a waste landfill site.
[ Full Story » ]

ATO Workers Stand Up to Bullying Bean-Counter
Staff at the Australian Tax Office are rallying behind a colleague at the centre of a row involving a pattern of harassment from a leading accounting firm.
[ Full Story » ]

Schweppes Lockout Bubbles Internationally
The lock-out of Cadbury-Schweppes LHMU members in Melbourne has been made an Urgent Action item of the Swiss-based beverage workers union international.
[ Full Story » ]

Online Registration Takes Hold
The first union in Australia to offer online payment of union fees says its now receiving one third of all payments over the Internet.
[ Full Story » ]

Bush Apprentices Face Breadline
Young trainees and apprentices from rural and regional NSW are being sent to the city and told to survive on just $14 per day.
[ Full Story » ]

ALP Council Faces Workers' Wrath
The ALP-dominated Liverpool Council is facing angry protests next week after the decision to award a waste contract to a firm described by unions as anti-worker with a substandard health and safety record.
[ Full Story » ]

Local Action to Back Burma Sanctions
The Australian representative of the Burmese democracy movement last night called on Australian workers to back a landmark ILO ruling over the military regime's use of slave labour.
[ Full Story » ]

WorkCover Needs First Aid Help
As angry building workers descended on the WorkCover office in Kent Street, chanting 'hands of first aid' and handed out leaflets, the bewildered officials and staff of WorkCover carried on business as usual.
[ Full Story » ]

Shier Under Fire At Your ABC
ABC staff have turned up the heat on their managing director Jonathan Shier over staff cuts, passing a motion of no confidence and putting strike action on the agenda.
[ Full Story » ]

Social Charter Puts Heat on Howard
Finance workers have challenged Prime Minister John Howard to clearly indicate to the Australian people whether he is on the side of the community or big banks.
[ Full Story » ]

Wattyl Make 'Em Fair Dinkum?
Paint workers believe they are a smidgin from getting an agreement with their employer after an evetful week of sit-ins and lock-outs.
[ Full Story » ]

International Union Aid Jobs on Offer
Union Aid Abroad, the overseas aid agency of the ACTU, is seeking to fill four important positions to support education and labor rights in the region.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Botsman Off Beam

  • Botsman Off Beam II

  • Fatherly Advice

  • Concerns on Fundraiser

  • Let's Be Frank about Frank!

  • Editorial

    Australia's Most Trusted

    OK. So it's only an online poll and the competition was not that stiff; but I reckon there's something significant in the results of this week's SMH online poll.

    Compared to CEOs, economists and politicians, trade union leaders come out streets ahead in the trust stakes, evidence that the negative stereotypes built up by some in politics and the media do not wash with the public.

    On the face of it, the result should be expected: of the four classes, trade union officials are the one group demonstrably pursuing the interests of ordinary working people. In contrast CEO s answer to shareholders, economists to abstractions and politicians to their own fragile egos.

    But I doubt you would have had this result a few years ago, when the long Accord period had left union leaders looking more like an arm of the government than the representative of ordinary workers - leaving the field for Howard to come and seduce the 'battler' vote..

    The change in public perception of the union movement, is a vindication of the back to basics approach of the new ACTU leadership backed by the work of officials at all levels of the movement.

    It is backed by Labor Council's own research that has consistently found a level of respect for trade unions that is far greater than the formal membership levels in the workplace.

    All of which presents some interesting new challenges for the Howard government and his chief union head-kicker ,For a man who loves poll-driven policy, perhaps its time for Peter Reith to look at the real story in the Australian workplace.

    Maybe its time to get his mate Mark Textor in and establish that (a) people like unions (b) they want to join them and (c) they are unable to for a range of reasons, including fear of employer backlash.

    Armed with these results, we could expect Reithy to let loose with some serious workplace reform to support 'freedom of choice' in the workplace.

    Peter Lewis


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