Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 94 Official Organ of LaborNet 04 May 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Global Action
The CFMEU has been a world leader in fighting the war on global corporations. John Maitland has been one of the generals.
*  Unions: Sisters United
In her May Day address, Bus Union state president Pat Ryan looks at the role women have played in the labour movement.
*  Politics: M1 and the Trade Unions
Phil Davey was one of the forces behind S11 but chose to sit out M1. He looks at this week's action.
*  History: Il Duce Roberto?
His modern-day fan club might not like it, but Rowan Cahill argues wartime PM Robert Menzies sailed close to the winds of Fascism.
*  International: Cuban Call for Global Labour Rights
An international meeting of union representatives in Cuba has vowed to start a campaign to defend workers rights from the effects of globalisation.
*  Economics: The G-Word
ACTU President Sharan Burrow asks if there's a better way forward for global trade.
*  Media: Birth Of A Nation
East Timor's young journalists are struggling with language barriers and technical difficulties most Australian media professionals wouldn't be able to comprehend. But they're keen and eager to learn.
*  Review: The Tremulous Hopes of the Fifties
Behind the the good times mythology of the 1950s was a desperate quest for the ordinary.
*  Satire: Teen Angst Poems a “Danger”
The Teen Angst Gun Massacre Affair has broadened, with staff at the NSW Department of Education revealing that “gangs of conspirators” have been found operating out of high school poetry competitions.

Global Warrior: John Maitland

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Hosing down the Pollies

Workers Seek Security on Back of Living Wage
NSW unions will mount a ground-breaking test case on Job Security in the wake of this week’s disappointing Living Wage decision.
[ Full Story » ]

Temple Workers Return to India Victorious
India’s newest converts to trade unionism will return home this weekend after winning a significant back-pay case with the help of the NSW labour movement.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Get Down to Workers Comp Talks
The NSW Labor Council’s negotiating team has spent the past week in talks with government officials over their concerns with the workers compensation package.
[ Full Story » ]

Firefighters Hand Hoses To Politicians
NSW Firefighters this week left State Parliamentarians in charge of fire fighting after they walked off the job in support of their campaign for decent protection for death and disability.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Back Corruption Fight
The NSW labour movement last night vowed to support the CFMEU’s state and national leadership in their fight against ‘criminal elements’ in the construction industry.
[ Full Story » ]

'Workers Bank' Protest Rally Backs Cleaners
Workers angry at one of the key promoters of a so-called ‘workers bank’ staged a rally outside the Melbourne head office of AXA Australia today.
[ Full Story » ]

Smoking Decision Sparks Call for Pub Bans
Hospitality workers want smoking to be banned in all hotels and pubs following a landmark passive smoking decision this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Boycott Trade, Travel with Burma
The ACTU has called on Australians to boycott travel and ban all trade with Burma as part of an international union protest against human rights abuses in the country.
[ Full Story » ]

Qantas Takeover No Impulse Buy
Action was needed to ensure Qantas does not pick up a cheap labour force through its takeover of Impulse Airlines, the Transport Workers Union has warned.
[ Full Story » ]

Sick Chicks Win Privacy Rights
Workers in the poultry industry can take sick leave without disclosing the nature of their illness, after a ruling from the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.
[ Full Story » ]

Arnotts Workers Seek More than Crumbs
Arnott’s Biscuit workers in Melbourne will meet on Monday to discuss a campaign to save the jobs of about 600 LHMU members threatened by the closure of the company’s factory.
[ Full Story » ]

Jageth Backs Jakarta Hotel Workers
An Australian hotel union organiser, Jagath Bandara, joined Indonesian hotel workers in their May Day celebrations and a protest rally outside the Shangri-La Jakarta hotel this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Equity Members Send a Dear John Letter
More than 40 Equity members have written to John Howard urging him to protect Australian content quotas in any trade agreement.
[ Full Story » ]

New Theatre Under Threat
Unionists have been asked to lend a hand to the New Theatre, a Sydney landmark currently struggling to survive financially.
[ Full Story » ]

A Toast to May Day
Several hundred union activists from across the labour movement came together at South Sydney Leagues Club on Tuesday for the traditional May Day Toast.
[ Full Story » ]

Activist Notebook
MEAA fundraiser, Fair Wear in the schools and another streeet protest. May Day may be over but the events keep on coming.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • And Macca Replies to Lee ...

  • What About the Workers?

  • Editorial

    The Workers United?

    For generations May Day has been the focus for workers of the world to unite - yet in 2001 the foundations of this tradition are under challenge.

    Around the world, activists took the street under the banner of M1, usurping the labour movement's traditional day to run their own street crusade. Their common cause? Opposition to 'Globalisation'.

    It's a common lament from both the extreme Left and extreme Right - Globalisation is out of control and must be stopped. The M1 protests outside stock exchanges were aimed to symbolize this - although the Nike sneakers worn by some of the students dragged into police cars could have been just as poignant.

    The problem for both M1 and One Nation is that their message is far too simple - and when you look at it it's a ridiculous proposition - we are against the world being looked at as the one entity rather than a series of nation-states historically dominated (even in democracies) by their own ruling elite classes.

    I think the problem has become the language - Globalisation has ceased to mean anything. Let's get more specific about what we are we talking about. What is good about the process? What is bad? How can use the good elements to fight the bad? How do we get more people to join in?

    I've actually begun describing myself as an 'anti-anti-Globalisationist'. It's not that I endorse unfettered corporate power turning people into economic abstractions. It's just that I'm not convinced that resisting change is the most constructive response.

    I find it far more interesting to engage with some of the changes driving Globalisation - such as network technologies - to play a small part in driving an agenda that will contain corporate excess and give people a voice in the process.

    This is where I hope M1 and organized labour can at some stage reconcile - using the tools that globalisation has delivered to take action that is more meaningful than linking arms, singing 'we shall not be moved' and repelling the mainstream of society with the violent scenes that have been so carefully choreograph.

    Workers of the world have always tried to unite. Today their chances of doing so effectively have never been greater. Each morning I check out Labourstart to find out what's happening around the world - sometimes a Workers Online story is posted there to let others know what we're up to. It's a start.

    Likewise, as John Maitland describes, unions can actually use the financial system to hold corporates to some sort of account - all the while recognizing that global rules like core labour standards are required to give all workers fair deal.

    Elsewhere in this issue, we look at ACTU pressure on Australian companies doing business in Burma, pressure to lift the blockade on Cuban workers and the practical steps local journalists are making to assist a free press in Indonesia.

    The ultimate global protest is to start backing our convictions with meaningful actions - as voters, as citizens and as consumers - who can seek the information about the stories behind the labels we buy. The tools are in our hands - and they are there as a product of Globalisation.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Bob Ellis' May Day Toast Yoga: Our New National Sport Paul Howes’ Week on the Web Shane Stone – Soft Touch



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