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  Issue No 85 Official Organ of LaborNet 23 February 2001  

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News

Employment Records Must Be Protected


The Carr Government will be pushed to bring employment records under the coverage of privacy laws amidst fears they are being traded in business transactions.

NSW Labor Council secretary Michael Costa says there are no legal protections to records on workers' medical history and trade union activity being passed on to third parties.

"I am particularly concerned that this sort of information is being passed around during the due diligence process when companies change hands," Costa says.

"While medical records are totally private when in the hands of a doctor, there is no protection when a medical certificate makes it way into the hands of an employer."

"Indeed, as Privacy Commissioner Chris Puplick pointed out last week, individuals have fewer rights as employees than in any other aspect of their lives."

The issue came to light after the sacking and subsequent reinstatement of 20 workers from Sydney's Wentworth Hotel. Of the 20 sacked, a disproportionate number were active union members, raising suspicions about what information was passed on to the new owners.

"While we have no proof the records were passed during this sale, the workers there are concerned that their files may have been accessed during the transaction of business," Costa says.

"Rather than have this atmosphere of fear and distrust, we call on the Carr Government to act decisively to ensure that workers are secure knowing their personal records will not be misused."


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*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   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.
*
*  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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