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  Issue No 89 Official Organ of LaborNet 23 March 2001  




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.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Paddy Takes the Helm
Irish, internationalist, republican, socialist & seafarer - Paddy Crumlin intends taking the old traditions of the labour left into the 21st century, the community and cyberspace.
*  Unions: Breaking the Mould
Mark Hearn looks at how women union delegates are helping to change the culture in the traditionally male bastion of glassworking.
*  Legal: Washing Their Hands
Mark Morey outlines how Liberal neglect of the working visa system has led to exploitation of guest workers.
*  International: Violence Betrays Shangri-La
Shangri-La hotel union members carrying a coffin marked Robert Kuok have been assaulted and beaten by police in Jakarta.
*  Economics: Corporations: Different Than You and Me
Corporations are fundamentally different than you and me. That's a simple truth that Big Business leaders desperately hope the public will not perceive.
*  History: The Steel Octopus
Be prepared for a flood of Nostalgia from the media about the “Big Australian”, as it prepares to flee our shores and finally internationalise its digging operations. Workers won’t forget BHP’s less than worker friendly past and present (and no doubt it’s future).
*  Review: Mean Nation
John Allen charts the fall and fall of philanthropy in Australian society.
*  Satire: Ryan 'A Big Wake-Up Call For Me': Beazley
The narrow victory to Labor in the Ryan by-election has delivered a big slap in the face to Leader of the Opposition Kim Beazley.

New MUA chief Paddy Crumlin

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Grenadier workers and Indian temple workers join forces

Abbott and ‘Drinking Buddy’ Under Microscope
Grenadier Coatings workers want to know what advice federal workplace relations minister Tony Abbott gave to an Administrator dealing with a liquidation which has been referred to the NSW police.
[ Full Story » ]

Working Visas: Ruddock Sells Dump to Abbott
Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock has shifted blame for the failure to ensure guest workers receive their legal entitlements to his Cabinet colleague, Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott.
[ Full Story » ]

Tourist Guides Bussed In
Tourist guides have emerged as the latest victims of the Howard Government’s failure to police working visas, with claims that breaches of the visas are rife.
[ Full Story » ]

Fair Wear Holds Breath as Carr Celebrates
Opponents of sweatshops in the clothing industry are hoping that Premier Carr’s celebration of his sixth anniversary of office will bring some joy for outworkers.
[ Full Story » ]

Labor to Restore Public Sector’s Dignity
A Beazley Labor Government has vowed to repair the Commonwealth Public Service after five years of ideological fuelled attack by putting the breaks on outsourcing.
[ Full Story » ]

Its Time for Carr to Act on Safey on Building Sites
In the last three months three serious accidents have occurred on NSW Government construction sites resulting in two workers loosing their legs and one death.
[ Full Story » ]

Bread Maker Slices Workforce
More than a third of the Buttercup workforce in Newcastle will lose their jobs by mid-April because of a decision by the company to centralise its baking at their Moorebank, Sydney, outlet.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers Show Grace Under Pressure
More than 150 hotel workers at the four-star 382 room Grace Hotel in York St, Sydney have rejected an attempt by their employer to introduce a non-union agreement.
[ Full Story » ]

Engineers Win BHP Redundancy Case
APESMA has been successful in its bid to stop the multinational, Hatch from unilaterally slashing ex BHP employees redundancy entitlements.
[ Full Story » ]

Transport Drug Pushers Not Charged
Over 150 long distance truck drivers were charged with driving, fatigue and drug related offences as part of a Police and RTA blitz on the NSW and Queensland border last weekend.
[ Full Story » ]

Training Body Needs $150 Million to Cope with Growth
The ACTU is seeking at least $150 million for Vocational Education and Training in the first year of federal growth funding after a three-year federal funding freeze.
[ Full Story » ]

HIH Urged To Safeguard Employee Entitlements
The Finance Sector Union of Australia has called on HIH and KPMG, the company receivers, to immediately dispel staff concerns about employee entitlements.
[ Full Story » ]

Carr Proposal For Public Schools Flawed
NSW teachers are underwhelmed by the Carr government’s new public education plan which includes the closure of several inner city schools.
[ Full Story » ]

Human Smirk Returns to Spiritual Home
The HR Nichols Society, the group which pioneered radical union-busting tactics in the 1980s – will welcome back their favourite son, Treasurer Peter Costello, over the weekend.
[ Full Story » ]

McGauchie Appointment Draws MUA Fire
The Howard Government appointment of union busting P&C Stevedores director and former NFF president Donald McGauchie to the board of the Reserve Bank is just another example of jobs for the boys, according to the MUA.
[ Full Story » ]

Bove Loses McDonald's Raid Appeal
A French court has upheld a three-month prison sentence imposed on radical farmer Jose Bove for ransacking a McDonald's restaurant.
[ Full Story » ]

James Hardie Called to Account
Hundreds of people from Worker’s Unions, community groups and churches joined members of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation in a protest rally outside the headquarters of corporate giant, James Hardie.
[ Full Story » ]

Australasian Union Organising Conference
More than 600 unionists from Australia and New Zealand will gather in Sydney this week for the inaugural Australasian Organising Conference.
[ Full Story » ]

Activist Notebook
A forum in Newcastle, action against sweatshops and a petition for free education are all on the activist's agenda for this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • AXA Has Form

  • Leichhardt Debate Hots Up

  • Editorial

    It’s Not Just Cricket

    When workers from Grenadier Coatings played a friendly picket line cricket match against eight India temple workers this week it was more than a cute media opportunity.

    It was a meeting of working people, from very different worlds, all victims of a new amorality that see people as collateral damage.

    The Grenadier Coatings workers are the latest in a line of workers who have not just lost their jobs to cheaper overseas markets, but are then told their employers can not pay the legal entitlements they have already earned.

    The Indian temple workers are the unwitting victims of a new global trade in human services - where even the jobs that occur within a domestic economy can go out to the lowest bidder.

    The response of the Howard government to both groups of workers helps explain why there is such a backlash to globalisation building across the society.

    The Grenadier workers are simply told change is inevitable, take what you can get and forget about what is yours, while the Indian temple Workers are told to be thankful for what you have.

    While many hold these workers up as victims of globalisation, the real villain is a government that refuses to set any sort of limits, that says that the positives outweigh the negatives, so be grateful for what you have.

    It would take so little to change the system so that neither group was in the situation they found themselves.

    A simple commitment to a national entitlements scheme would protect the grenadier workers' entitlements, if not their jobs. A simple commitment to enforcing working visas would ensure that guest workers were not treated as a second class workforce.

    When the two groups mixed around the barbeque after the match and traversed the language barrier to have some fun and share in solidarity it was clear that, to them, this is not about being anti-globalisation.

    Rather it is about pointing out the human costs of an irresponsible lasses-faire government that views the complexities of change as Somebody Else's Problem.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
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    Public Service: The Labor Agenda Picket Cricket – The Ultimate Test Neale Towart's Labour review Stephen Mayne: Loose Cannon



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