|Issue No 87||10 March 2001|
Letters to the Editor
Sydney Council Tip of Iceberg
You had in your issue 83 of Workers Online , an article on Sydney City Council "Sartor Thanks Workers for Games by Outsourcing Jobs" which may or may not have been a true picture of the reforms participated within this realm of Local Government. Fortunately your editorial in the same issue was indicative of a more than comprehensive understanding of the universal demand by countries belonging to the World Trade Organization,(WTO) and their expansion of the General Agreement on Trade in Services. The agreement is contentious because it potentially targets all service areas - health, education and social security, sectors that affect the environment, transportation services, postal and municipal services opening them to free trade.
This agreement will effectively smooth the path for the worldwide Privatization of Municipal services, and it is for this reason that the parochial stinking thinking in Australian local government employee representation must be excised without compassion.
Lessons must be learned from those who have already tread this path and survived, and the lesson here is that open combat with these forces of Globalization does not work.. It is only with the embrace of the new ideology and the subsequent influence exerted upon it, can it be controlled.
Our union movement must join with others in campaigning against GATS.
Some organizations already involved in this are; the US-based Alliance for Democracy and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, the Norwegian Union of Municipal Employees, Thailand's Focus on the Global South and the World Development Movement in Britain.
These GATS negotiations which commenced in February 2000 could be concluded by next year and an expanded GATS could pave the way for many more privatization's worldwide.
GATS will limit constraints to free trade especially those applied by governments. These could include, repeal of labour laws, removal of subsidies such as those used in public works , and the elimination of policies discriminating against foreign companies gaining access to local markets.
This privatization is not limited to the Municipal area, but also Health, Education and Water, which are all very lucrative areas and multi-national corporation's are well aware of this.
The Global Health Domain, is estimated to be worth 3.5 Trillion US$ annually, Education approx.2 Trillion US$, and Water, 1 Trillion US$.
At the moment water is not included in the GATS agreement, but with Europe including the Multi-National Water Provider Suez Lyonnaise organization pushing for its incorporation , its inclusion in GATS is almost inevitable
In short Frank Sartor, AND Sydney City Council are small fry in the tapestry of our Industrial life, and to waste valuable resources battling fools and buffoons, or the figments of their imagination, does not one iota for the Labor movement - either locally or globally.
In this instance I am reminded of - John D. Rockefeller who is credited with saying -
" In every hierarchy the cream rises until it sours. "
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 Ė 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 canít 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 Hansonís 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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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005