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  Issue No 87 Official Organ of LaborNet 10 March 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Working Woman
Cheryl Kernot on women in the workplace, Labor's male culture and where Meg went wrong.
*  Activists: Honouring Our Heroes
Anna Stewart changed the lives of Australian working families by helping women achieve balance between the competing demands of work and family.
*  Women: The Future is Female
Julia Gillard outlines the campaign to increase female representation within the Australian Labor Party.
*  Unions: Sweatshops � Beyond 2001
FairWear convenor Debbie Carstens looks over a unique partnership between churches and unions to end exploitation in the textile industry.
*  Politics: The Battle for Bennelong
Many trade unionists are working to kick John Howard out of office. But only one woman has a chance of kicking him out of his own seat. Meet Nicole Campbell.
*  International: Border Skirmishes
Alana Kerr travelled to Thailand to observe first hand the battle to organise Burmese women workers in exile.
*  History: Inside the Ladies Lounge
The McDonald sisters run Trades Hall, and have for over half a century. The building can�t speak about what has gone on in that time, but Lorna and Elaine probably know it all.
*  Satire: Taliban to Put One Nation Last
The Parliamentary fate of Pauline Hanson�s One Nation party was further obscured today as key fellow right-wing extremists moved to distance themselves from the controversial Queensland politician and the group she founded and leads.
*  Review: Seven Steps to Slavation
Jenny Macklin details the seven barriers that stand between women and a better working life.

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Sweat Stains the Great Aussie Cossie
An Australian icon, the Speedo swimsuit, will be made by sweatshop labour in the wake of the company�s new foreign owners� decision to close its Windsor factory.
[ Full Story » ]

Chinks Emerge in Carr�s Call Centre Stonewall
There�s been a breakthrough in the push to have NSW Government departments and authorities embrace the ACTU Call Centre code, with a tiny authority becoming the first to accept the minimum standards.
[ Full Story » ]

Telstra Called on Part-Time Work
While it�s profit may be sky high, Telstra�s right to call itself a family-friendly employer, is on the line according to the CPSU Communications Union.
[ Full Story » ]

ACTU Pushes for Reasonable Hours
Working women will be major beneficiaries if unions are successful in their bid to have reasonable working hours guidelines introduced into Australian workplace awards.
[ Full Story » ]

Ruddock Faces Legal Action Over Working Visas
Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock will face legal action if the Indian temple masons do not recover the money they were underpaid from their employer.
[ Full Story » ]

National Textiles Revisited: More Workers Dumped
A key creditor from the infamous National Textiles dispute is at the center of another corporate collapse that has left 60 workers owed $600,000 in unpaid entitlements.
[ Full Story » ]

New on the Menu: Home Delivery AWAs
Individual contracts containing a $2000 inducement to leave the union have been sent directly to the wives of paint workers locked out of a Sydney paint factory for the past two weeks.
[ Full Story » ]

Pay Equity Case Up And Running
Four years ago, the PSA established a Working Group to look at the pay and classification structure for Librarians, Archivists and Library Technicians across the NSW Public Sector. The case is finally before the Commission.
[ Full Story » ]

Child Care OH&S 'a Time Bomb'
Victorian child care workers are so fed up with their lousy wages and conditions, they are prepared to go on strike.
[ Full Story » ]

New Precedent for Workers with Print Disabilities
A new enterprise bargaining agreement struck at Macquarie University and certified by the AIRC provides a first for workers with a print disability.
[ Full Story » ]

Australian Shippers Promote Slavery
Cheap freight rates come at the cost of human lives, according to a damning report on the world's shipping industry released today.
[ Full Story » ]

Ambos Tried Without a Jury
Ambulance officers have hit back at a Parliamentary attack by Health Minister Craig Knowles who this week attempted to blame workers for management problems within the service.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Cautious Over New Insurance Deal
The Government this week announced a new discount scheme, which offers employers who do the right thing up to $75,000 off their workers compensation premium.
[ Full Story » ]

Fears Over Future of Unfair Contracts
Unions have raised concerns that the Carr Government may be planning to amend or abolish the Section 106 unfair contract provisions of the NSW Industrial Relations Act.
[ Full Story » ]

APESMA Launches Professional Women�s Network Directory
In a new initiative to break down barriers between women in the professions, a directory for professional women was launched this week by ACTU President, Sharan Burrow.
[ Full Story » ]

Women�s Gateway Launched
The NSW Government has launched a new internet portal, called the Women�s Gateway, an entry point for those seeking information on women�s issues and women�s services.
[ Full Story » ]

EMILY's List Raises Flag for Women Candidates
Australia�s first female Premier, Joan Kirner, has helped raise significant funds for ALP Women Candidates,standing for NSW seats in the Federal election due to be held later this year.
[ Full Story » ]

Web Pioneer Goes Global
One of the pioneers of virtual trade unionism in Australia, the CEPU�s Dan Dwyer, is taking up a prestigious international posting.
[ Full Story » ]

Public Education Day on March 15
Schools and colleges throughout NSW are getting behind Public Education Day with a variety of activities planned to celebrate the work undertaken by students and teachers.
[ Full Story » ]

Activists Notebook
The Corporate Scumbags tour, solidarity with locked out workers and action on asbestos are all on this week�s agenda.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Viva La Shane!

  • Still the Same

  • Sydney Council Tip of Iceberg

  • New Battle Grounds

  • Patricks Footnote

  • The Ripple Effect

  • Editorial

    More Than a Woman�s Movement

    Recent moves by the University of Sydney to rename its Women's Studies course 'Gender Studies' may provide a pointer to how the union movement can take the next step in its long-running struggle to raise the status of working women.

    While the labour movement has a proud history of fighting for women's political and industrial rights, all too often the battles have been fought by and for women - as if the only people with a stake in the outcome are female.

    As Cheryl Kernot points out in our interview, even regulatory 'advances' like family friendly legislation still entrench the woman in the role of primary carer - as well as breadwinner. The role of the man doesn't even enter the equation.

    What the university's faculty has recognized in renaming its course is that the key issue in understanding the historic inequalities lies in the relationship between men and women, rather than the situation of women in isolation.

    Women in isolation are not prone to workplace harassment. Women in isolation rarely inflict violence either on a global stage or in the home. Women in isolation do not control a media industry that uses their bodies as a marketing tool.

    It is in their relation to men that women have copped history's rawest deal. It is only in relation to men that a new, fairer relationship can be struck.

    So what would a trade union agenda for improving gender relationships look like?

    It would recognize that gender relations exist in both work and private life and that the mix of work and family affects the relations in both spheres. Too often this is portrayed as a woman's choice, rather than a relationship choice.

    It would recognize that long working hours hurt relationships, as do casual arrangements that undermine domestic routines.

    It would accept that historically men have dominated our (and nearly every other) society's structures and that this has shaped the way we all live our lives.

    It would understand that this has placed pressure on men and women in different ways and made it harder for both parties.

    It would ensure that workplaces offered women the same opportunities as men - giving both genders choices about how they mixed their work and family obligations.

    As the stories in this issue show this agenda is already being pursued and there are many struggles occurring on the ground. From the Asian Women at Work initiative to end sweatshop labour, to the continuing push for family workplace rights, from the legal battle for genuine pay equity, to the campaign to have more women at the highest level of politics, the battles are being fought.

    The success of these and many other struggles will be to the benefit of all of our society, not just women. For mine, a first step would be getting more blokes to take up the fight and take a bit of ownership.

    Happy International Women's Day to all our readers.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    What�s Wrong With The Ernies Kate Lundy on Sports Funding Neale Towart�s Labour Review The Mad Monk Makes It



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