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  Issue No 90 Official Organ of LaborNet 30 March 2001  

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News

Call Centre Union Busters Get Wake-Up Call


Call centre employers this week paid three times the average weekly wage of one of their workers to hear how to get rid of unions and keep wages low.

The employers paid $1000 to attend the briefing by high-profile union busting lawyers, Freehills, Hollingdale and Page, the same firm which advised Patrick Stevedores during the waterfront dispute.

The Sydney briefing followed similar meetings in other capital cities. Unionists leafleted outside the meetings, pointing to the benefits of working with unions rather than against them.

In Sydney, NSW Unions led by officials of the NSW Labour Council and ACTU ended the successful campaign against Freehills' attempts to woo call centre managers to their hard line industrial relations strategies.

ASU call center coordinator Col Lynch says that with the rapidly expanding call centre industry now employing over 200,000 workers in over 4,000 call centres Freehills can see a lot of potential to peddle their anti-worker wares.

Freehills has now held a series of seminars in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. The seminars are offering advice to call centre employers on combating the ACTU Call Centre Campaign.

A centrepiece of the campaign is a minimum standards code. This code is modeled on the call centre industry's own research and seeks to ensure workers who are employed in the industry receive a decent wage and safe working conditions.

The ACTU and call centre unions have been lobbying governments and employers to sign on to the code and ensure that all government call centres make minimum standards a prerequisite when letting contracts. To date, the Tasmanian Government, Local Government Association, Western Australian Government and several employers have signed the code.

The NSW Labor Council has convened a joint unions working party to negotiate the signing of the code by the NSW government. Detailed negotiations with the Queensland government are also continuing.


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*   Issue 90 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: On the Up and Up
On the eve of new figures showing the slide in union membership may be bottoming out, ACTU secretary Greg Combet takes stock of the state of the movement.
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*  Unions: Organising Theory
Labor Council’s Chris Christodoulou reports back from this week’s ACTU Organising Conference
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*  Economics: The Failure of the Third Way
In his presentation to this week's ACTU Organising Conference, John Buchanan painted a dark picture of the emerging labour market.
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*  History: Emblems of Unity
The Gregory J. Smith Collection of Trade Union badges was auctioned today in Sydney. Smith compiled a book on 763 of his remarkable collection which was published in 1992.
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*  Legal: Della's Compo Plan
Labour lawyer Richard Brennan places the NSW workers compensation reforms under the microscope.
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*  International: East Timor Goes Union
Workers in the fledgling nation have established their equivalent to the ACTU to build a safety net for workers.
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*  Satire: Management for the Post-Industrial World
A new management fad is sweeping the post-industrial world, which has major social and political implications at the macro and micro level. We have called it "Purge Management Strategy" (PMS).
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*  Review: Surviving The Temptations of TV Island
Cultural analyst Mark Morey rakes over the coals of American TV culture to find very little is there.
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News
»  Compo Wars: Round One to the Workers
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»  Breakthrough on Sweat-Shops
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»  Beazley to Force Executive Disclosure
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»  Call Centre Union Busters Get Wake-Up Call
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»  Victorious Workers Paint the Picket Red
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»  Grenadier Workers Maintain Vigil
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»  Kembla Water Rats Face Extinction
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»  Employers Told: Casual Workers Have Full-Time Rights
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»  Good On Ya Mum, Buttercup’s Leaving Town
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»  Forty Seven Years of Service Rewarded
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»  Telstra Called to Account on Legionella
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»  Record Low Aussie Dollar Adds to Surging Profits
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»  No Progress on Stonemasons
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»  Burrow Lobbies on BHP and US Trade Abroad
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»  Feed the Shangri-La Workers Fund
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»  STOP PRESS: Union Numbers Up - ABS
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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
»  Crumby Company
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