Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 83 Official Organ of LaborNet 09 February 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Dispatch from Davos
ACTU President Shahran Burrow reports back on the trade union movement’s presence at last week’s meeting of the heavyweights of global capital.
*  Unions: After the Gold Rush
Recent mass sackings at high-profile e-businesses are beginning to expose the flimsiness of the ‘jobs for all’ predictions made on behalf of the sector.
*  Economics: The Other Davos
While the world’s business leaders met in Davos, a very different gathering was taking place in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Pat Ranald was there.
*  Politics: While We Were Snoozing
As we lay in our banana chair through summer the political world kept turning with a new man in the White House. Here’s what we missed while we were off the air.
*  History: Federation Day, 1901
One hundred years after Australia became a nation, Ralph Sawyer relives the original Federation Day through the eyes of Billy Hughes.
*  International: Burma: The Struggle Continues
As the internatinal community moves to bring Burma to account, APHEDA - Union Aid Abroad is working on the ground.
*  Review: Inside the Journopolis
In his new book, Rob Johnson brings the infamous Cash for Comment Affair to life.
*  Satire: Families Demand Longer Work Hours
A new report confirms the long held suspicion that employees who reduce their workload to spend more time with their spouse and children just end up annoying their families even more.

Burmese Crisis: Aussie Unions Lend a Hand

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Defiant Wentworth Hotel Workers
Photo by HT Lee

Union Busters Target Call Centres
The law firm that represented Patricks in the waterfront dispute is now drumming up business in a bid to keep unions out of the call centre industry.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers Take Message to World Bank
A delegation of Australian union leaders had a short, frank meeting with the management of the Asia-Pacific office of the World Bank today, to protest the Bank’s funding of anti-worker, anti-union companies which also have bad environmental records.
[ Full Story » ]

Korean Worker Bashed for Questioning Wages
Police are investigating allegations that a Korean national was bashed by his employer after questioning the wages he was being paid.
[ Full Story » ]

Steelworkers Draw The Line
Industrial war has broken out on the NSW South Coast, with 4000 BHP Port Kembla steelworkers walking off the job this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Sartor Thanks Workers for Games by Outsourcing Jobs
Sydney Lord Mayor Frank Sartor is under fire for moving to contract out council jobs immediately after the successful Olympic Games.
[ Full Story » ]

Outworkers Still Waiting for Action of Sweatshops
Two years after promising a comprehensive strategy on sweatshops, the Carr Government has yet to introduce concrete measures to clean up the industry.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers Casualties in Wentworth Fire Sale
Stunned. Hurt. Disgusted. Made to feel like a criminal. These were the reactions of LHMU Hotel union members at Sydney’s Wentworth Hotel sacked this week because the company buying the grand hotel had insisted the sackings were part of the purchase price of the site.
[ Full Story » ]

Fantastic Win for Furniture Workers
The previously non-unionised workforce at Fantastic Furniture have emerged victorious after undertaking collective action backed by enthusiastic student support this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Billions Spent on Mine Takeovers
Rio Tinto’s Billion dollar takeover of Peabody’s five open cut coal mines, brings to $4 Billion the amount of money spent by giant companies in Australian coal mine takeovers since late 1998.
[ Full Story » ]

No Guarantees on Orange Jobs
Incoming Electrolux management have committed to maintaining a presence in Orange when it takes over the Email whitegoods manufacture, without making specific guarantees on job levels.
[ Full Story » ]

M5 Project- Worker Pays the Price
Crane driver Pat Portlock’s crushed right leg had to be amputated after being trapped in his tipped over mobile crane for 10 hours at the M5 East Baulderstone project on Friday 12 January.
[ Full Story » ]

Forum: Organising Youth in a Hostile Workplace
Unions will have the opportunity to develop industry-specific strategies for organizing young workers at a conference to coincide with next week’s Labor Council Annual General Meeting.
[ Full Story » ]

Western Sahara Marks 25 Years of Waiting
Supporters of the fledging North African state of Western Sahara will this mark the 25th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence from Morocco.
[ Full Story » ]

Action as Australia Considers WTO Ties
A rallied is planned to coincide with The Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia's relationship with the World Trade Organisation in Sydney on 12 February.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Cavalier Attitude to Cricketers

  • Unions and the WEF: How should unions bridge the divide?

  • Botsman's Ivory Tower

  • Volunteering a Modest Proposal

  • Well Done, Workers Online

  • Editorial

    The Year of Thinking Globally

    The World Bank office in Sydney is picketed over its funding of an Indonesian hotel which has sacked its workforce. Church groups and workers rally outside a clothing outlet that refuses to act against sweatshops. Building workers buck up over the treatment of a Korean comrade.

    The year has started off with a flurry of activity and, in what could be sign of things to come, a lot of the focus has been global.

    While the kingpins of world business met at Davos to discuss ways of further concentrating their wealth, trade unions seem to finally be getting it.

    If you haven't done it for a while, surf around the web through Labourstart and see the quality of union websites around the world. Compared to 12 months ago we've made a quantum leap as a global movement.

    And the virtual advances have been matched by big advances on the global stage. In 2000 the ILO invoked sanctions against a member nation for the first time - over the Burmese regime's use of slave labour. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is pushing forward with a Global Compact that would include a right to organize.

    At the macro and the micro levels, institutions are adapting to the challenges of globalisation - to ensure that there is a moral element to dynamics of economic development.

    But, as ACTU President Sharan Burrow points out in her interview, individuals also have a role to play in their capacity as consumers. In a world where markets rein supreme, consumers have immense power.

    Those wanting a fresh take on the whole global debate could do well to read AFL-CIO president John Sweeney's address to the world's business leaders in Davos. What we are witnessing is not an attack on globalisation, but the case for a new internationalism of mutual responsibility emanating from the shop floor level.

    All that's missing is the access to information about the policies and practices behind brands - working out who is receiving the benefit of each individual's custom and how they treat their workforce - not just locally but around the world.

    That's why LaborNet is this year embarking on an ambitious project to build a database of corporate behaviour, including profits, director fees and industrial relations policies. We reckon BossWatch won't just be an organizing tool - it will provide a framework for consumer activism across the movement. Watch this space for developments.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    John Sweeney: Birth Pangs of a New Internationalism Jim Maher: The Politics of Wendell Neale Towart's Labour Review Chris Clarke – The Information Rich



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