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  Issue No 94 Official Organ of LaborNet 04 May 2001  




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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.

The NSW Labor Council will immediately apply for the wage increase awarded to the low-paid on federal awards to flow on to the two million workers whose wages are set by the state system.

But it will also give notice that it will seek to have a job security clause inserted into all awards, giving part-time and casual workers the option of upgrading their employment status.

The two-pronged approach reflects general disappointment with the Living Wage decision, while recognizing a state Commission is unlikely to award a higher quantum.

Workers Go Backwards Under Federal Decision

The ACTU says most workers will experience real wage cuts under the decision - handed down in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The AIRC awarded increases ranging from $13 per week for workers on the minimum federal wage of $400 per week, to $15 for those earning between $490 and $590 to $17 for those on weekly wages above $590. The ACTU had argued for $28 per week.

ACTU president Sharan Burrow said after the impact of the GST, petrol prices and pother taxes, the Commission had given workers a pay cut.

"We welcome any decision that puts more money into the hands of the lowest-paid," Burrow says. "But too many working people and their families are falling into poverty because prices are rising faster than wages.

Bottom End of Market Hit Hardest

In its decision the AIRC also cited evidence from State Labor Governments that "with the growth of part-time, casual and contract work, low paid workers are more likely to be entrenched into a future of low paid work."

Labor Council secretary-elect John Robertson said these comments would form the basis of an application to specifically address the plight of these classes of workers.

"We will be seeking a general clause to improve job security for people in precarious employment," Robertson says.

"This could take the form of a clause requiring employers to offer extra work to existing part-time and casual staff before taking on new workers.

"It would also look at ensuring where there is use of labour hire firms, that they pay the site rates, rather than undercutting the existing labour force."


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*   Issue 94 contents

In this issue
*  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.

»  Workers Seek Security on Back of Living Wage
»  Temple Workers Return to India Victorious
»  Unions Get Down to Workers Comp Talks
»  Firefighters Hand Hoses To Politicians
»  Unions Back Corruption Fight
»  'Workers Bank' Protest Rally Backs Cleaners
»  Smoking Decision Sparks Call for Pub Bans
»  Boycott Trade, Travel with Burma
»  Qantas Takeover No Impulse Buy
»  Sick Chicks Win Privacy Rights
»  Arnotts Workers Seek More than Crumbs
»  Jageth Backs Jakarta Hotel Workers
»  Equity Members Send a Dear John Letter
»  New Theatre Under Threat
»  A Toast to May Day
»  Activist Notebook

»  The Soapbox
»  The Locker Room
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  And Macca Replies to Lee ...
»  What About the Workers?

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