Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 81 Official Organ of LaborNet 08 December 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Back to Work
After a stretch of unemployment following the 1996 election, former Keating Minister Robert Tickner is now helping others find work.
*  Media: Reality Check
Aiden White, head of the international journalists' union, argues that online journalism presents a new set of challenges for organising.
*  Economics: In the Same Boat
In an unprecedented move, a coalition of industry, community and trade union groups have joined forces to address long-trerm unemployment.
*  International: Nepalese Hotel Workers Ask for Support
Hotel workers in the small Himalayan nation of Nepal have finally decided to vent their anger and call a general strike for Monday - over a 21 year old dispute.
*  Unions: Speaking in Tongues
Labor Council's Mark Morey outlines the successful campaign by local government workers for a community language allowance.
*  History: Fighting Words
The anti-conscription campaign of 1914-18 tore the ALP apart; but this was not the first time the labour movement took a militantly anti-war stance.
*  Politics: A New Socialism
In an extract from his new book, political economist Frank Stilwell argues the need for a new radicalism to counter the Third Way
*  Satire: Roy Slaven on the Rampage
John Doyle's history of the ABC stretches back to a 1958 evening in Lithgow on which he was "scared shitless" by Blackboard on Mr Squiggle.
*  Review: Mauled in the Bear Pit
Vengeance may be sweet but it is always made better when you are able to write a book about yourself that also provides the opportunity to dump a bucket load on those who undertook your removal.

Jobs Futures' new boss Robert Tickner

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Workers Online - 2nd place Labourstart website of the year


Wobbly Radio


Vale Cliff Dolan: A Lifelong Commitment
The trade union movement is today mourning the death of fromer ACTU President Cliff Dolan who died in Melbourne last night.
[ Full Story » ]

Bussies Buck Up Over Lane Cheats
Sydney bus drivers are threatening to take industrial action next week over the failure of authorities to police bus-only transit lanes.
[ Full Story » ]

Tassie Brings Home the Bacon on Call Centres
Tasmanian Premier Jim Bacon has thrown down the gauntlet to fellow Labor Prem iers Bob Carr, Steve Bracks and Peter Beattie after agreeing that call centers should meet minimum standards before winning government contracts.
[ Full Story » ]

Howard Sinks Merchant Navy
The Howard Government's $40 billion dollar defence package has left any future Australia war effort without any funding for logistics and supply vessels, according to seafarers.
[ Full Story » ]

Rural Line Drawn on Telstra
Wagga Wagga has decided to fight back over Telstra closures that have claimed hundreds of jobs in rural Australia.
[ Full Story » ]

Don't Rain on our Family Picnic Day
About 20,000 building workers and their families enjoyed themselves at this years picnic day at the Australia's Wonderland--the largest and most successful trade union picnic in Australia.
[ Full Story » ]

ACTU Living Wage Case Begins
The full bench of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission has commenced hearing an ACTU claim for a $28 pay rise for low-paid workers in Melbourne today.
[ Full Story » ]

National Action Hits Manufacturing Sector
Thousands of workers from hundreds of factories and workplaces across four states stopped workthis week in support of a campaign for a new industrial agreement in the manufacturing industry.
[ Full Story » ]

TWU Calls For Mayor to be Charged
The Transport Workers Union has charged the Liverpool Mayor George Paciullo under the Labor Party Rules after his treatment of Liverpool Council Workers who have been given the axe before Xmas.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers Blow Whistle on Secret Melbourne IT Sell-Off
The University of Melbourne has been accused of breaching its own processes over the float of Melbourne IT, the only outfit authorized to hand out 'dot com' domain names in Australia.
[ Full Story » ]

Help Us Win a Gong!
Workers Online has been short-listed for the 2000 International Labour Website of the Year Award, one of only two Australian sites to make the final 12.
[ Full Story » ]

Reith Sacked Over Telecard Affair
Workplace Relations minister Peter Reith has been rocked by a new setback after Industrial Relations reporters voted to sack him as patron of their annual dinner.
[ Full Story » ]

2001: A Tipster's Odyssey
Finally, next week's issue of Workers Online will be the last of the year and we want you to be part of it.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Mike Dwyer to Address South Coast Council

  • Media and Police Versus Protestors

  • City Council Conspires to Compress Comrades?

  • Labor's Education Sell-Out

  • McGuiness Defended

  • Is Costa a Sandwich Short of a Picnic Basket?

  • Editorial

    The New Frontier

    Of all the workers hit by the information revolution, media workers are at the cusp. They are not only affected by changes to the delivery of information, they help create that change. And it is a change where the future of trade unions is not guaranteed

    At a conference of online journalists organized by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, the message from the major online outlets was sobering.

    At ABC Online, just 20 per cent of employees are organized. When ABC workers went out on strike last week, only four people from the online section walked. The average age is mid-20s.

    At Murdoch's News Interactive the 'churn' rate is seven months, creating a transient workforce that is near impossible to organise in traditional ways.

    Meanwhile at Fairfax the online edition of the Sydney Morning Herald this week attracted more readers than it's hard copy version - underlying the importance of this growing section of the media.

    The issue for the journalists union is: how to react? The real threats is that a new media workplace culture is evolving and trade unions are not part of it. Worse still, the workers seem to have no desire to be activated; they do their work, look for the next opportunity and move on.

    In this context a traditional organizing drive is unlikely to bite - while the organizing issues are thick on the ground, most workers don't stay around long enough to engage with site-specific disputes.

    More useful for these workers churning through jobs may be the creation of nodes of information, where details of job opportunities, comparative wage rates, employers to miss, even contract information could be securely exchanged.

    It would also create the first steps to what is the condition precedent for organizing new economy workers - the creation of a culture driven from the grassroots up which would form the basis of the professional identity for which all workers yearn.

    It's no easy fix. But the good news is MEAA now recognizes that it is dealing with a new type of worker - how it fares in winning them over to unionism will carry important lessons for the rest of the movement.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    The 2000 Whitlam Lecture Jim Marr on Cricketing Immortality Neale Towart's Labour Review Pyne-ing for the Limelight



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