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  Issue No 85 Official Organ of LaborNet 23 February 2001  

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News

Labor To Move on Outsourcing Scams


A Beazley Government would ensure that companies could not outsource staff as a way of bypassing industrial agreements, Labor's IR spokesman Arch Bevis has vowed in the wake of this week's Stellar decision.

Bevis says the proposition that a firm can move workers doing the same job into a different corporate structure to evade awards or agreements was a threat to the intergrity of the industrial relations system.

"If this situation stands it would mean that the entire system of awards and agreements is irrelevant," Bevis says.

A Full Bench of the Federal Court this week upheld an appeal by Stellar Call Centres against the Wilcox 'Transmission of Business' ruling. This decision means Stellar staff will no longer have the opportunity to enjoy the same pay and conditions as their counterparts in Telstra call centres who perform identical work.

Stellar is 50% owned by Telstra and does a large volume of Telstra overflow work.As result of this decision, Stellar staff will earn $28,000 for a 40 hour week, with no penalty rates compared to Telstra, staff doing the exactly same job who get $35,000 and work a 38 hour week, with much better employment conditions.

Bevis says that, while he is yet to study the ruling in detail, he says a Labor Government would address the issue in the first wave of industrial reforms it pursues on taking office. This is consistent with party platform set at last year's Hobart conference.

"The basic principle that outsourcing should not be used as a vehicle for driving down the wages and conditions of the same group of workers is core Labor policy," he says.

Not the End of the Road

The man who's spent much of the past year fighting the Telstra outsourcing, Stephen Jones from the Community and Public Sector Union, says the decision is not the end of the story.

"The Court has taken the view that because Telstra workers are human beings and not office equipment or some other form of valuable property, their work isn't part of the business of Telstra," Jones says. "It is a body blow to job security."

"It means that sham operators like Stellar can make a business out of undercutting the jobs and wages of ordinary working Australian's."

Jones says that while the decision is disappointing for the CPSU, it does not divert us from our strategy of developing new awards in the Telecommunications, IT, and Call Centre Industries.

He says that ultimately job security can only be gained with a fair safety net of wages and conditions across the industry, and a well unionised workforce.


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*   Issue 85 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: Tony Abbott – Workers' Friend?
The new Workplace Relations minister relives his own union background and explains why he’s really just another worker at heart. Honestly.
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*  Politics: The Politics of Petrol
Australia might be burning, but is it a fire that can be brought under control?
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*  Organising: The Battle of Campsie
SDA delegate Maria Kavaratzis recounts how the Campsie Big W has been transformed into a union shop.
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*  History: Scabbing Through the Ages
Neale Towart looks back at how popular culture has treated those workers who have not considered themselves part of the collective.
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*  International: Diary of a Showdown
The Korean Metal Workers Federation recounts a week which culminated in violent attacks on workers outside the Daewoo factory.
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*  Economics: Debt Dumping Campaign Enters New Phase
The millennial deadline might have passed, but Jubilee 2000 is not giving up the fight for debt cancellation for the world’s fifty-two poorest countries.
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*  Health: The Real Drug Wars
As Africa attempts to deal with the HIV crisis, access to the medicines that can relieve victims’ suffering is emerging as a major humanitarian issue.
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*  Satire: Liberals Claim Triumph in Queensland
John Howard has claimed the Liberal Party’s decimation in Western Australia and Queensland as a triumphant vindication of his party’s embracing of the national competition policy.
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*  Review: Beyond a White Australia
As we ponder the One Nation renaissance, a new book challenges the current debates around xenophobia and the perceived threat of danger from Asia.
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News
»  Labor To Move on Outsourcing Scams
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»  Opera Workers Join Freeloader Chorus
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»  Independent Eyes for Asbestos Deal
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»  Employment Records Must Be Protected
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»  Workers to Float Down Oxford Street
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»  Competitive Tendering Hits Welfare Sector
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»  Violence Hits Indonesian Dispute
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»  Locked Out, ‘Cause The Boss Won’t Talk
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»  New Laws To Protect Carers
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»  Acoustic Shock Cases Tip of the Iceberg
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»  Teachers Fed Gives Free Membership to Students
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»  Miners Union Calls for ‘Community Dividend’
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»  Hanson's Nursing Plan Bad for Health
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»  Refugee Plight Focus of NESB Network
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»  Unions Pause On New Safety Laws
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»  Heavy Handed Tactics Leave Speedo Workers Exposed
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»  Activists Notebook
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»  Vale: Charlie Fitzgibbon (1922-2001)
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  The Locker Room
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  No Shrinking Violet
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»  Service Fees a Cop Out
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»  Not Quite Right on Discrimination
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»  Explaining it to Pauline
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»  The Canada Bay Debacle
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