Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 95 Official Organ of LaborNet 11 May 2001  

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.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

Features
*  Interview: Geek Guys
Two of the union movement’s pioneers in new technology, Peter Ross and Mark McGrath, chew the fat about wired unionism and virtual politics.
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*  Compo: Costa’s Angels
Behind the spotlight of the workers comp campaign four women trade union officials have been burning the midnight oil to protect injured workers.
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*  Legal: View from the Bench
Compensation Court judge and former Attorney-General, Frank Walker, argues the Della Bosca workers comp reforms are a threat to judicial independence.
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*  International: Timor: Time for the Truth
HT Lee was in Dili when the militas ran rampage. Now he wants the truth to come out.
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*  History: True Believers
Frank Bongiorno looks at the origins of the Australian Labor Party, which celebrated its centenary of Caucus this week.
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*  Corporate: Trust Me, I’m a Multi-National!
BHP unions have united across the factions to urge “No” vote on the planned Billiton merger.
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*  Unions: AWAs – A Doomed Future?
ACTU Assistant Secretary Richard Marles plays clairvoyant and predicts a dismal future for AWAs.
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*  Satire: Bush Defends One China Policy - Then Another China Policy, Then Another ....
President Bush today announced a major change to the United States’ policy of “strategic ambiguity” towards the status of Taiwan and its One China policy.
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*  Review: Surviving Survivor
Workers Online's Reality TV correspondent Mark Morey rakes over the coals of the Survivor II result.
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Geek Guys: Rossy & McGrath

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News


Costa's Angels


Carr Government Avoids Own Safety Laws
A NSW Government Department has argued in court that it is not covered by the State’s workplace safety laws, in a bid to avoid a prosecution by the WorkCover Authority.
[ Full Story » ]

Phantom Employers Face the Flush
Employers should be forced to identify their legal name on all pay-slips, to prevent Patrick-style asset stripping that leaves workers with unpaid entitlements or without workers compensation insurance.
[ Full Story » ]

Primus Suspect? Unions Seek Answers
The ACTU’s preferred telecommunications supplier has been accused of anti-union practices, including refusing officials access to their workplace.
[ Full Story » ]

Big Australian’s Merger Faces Rocky Road
A united front of trade unions are recommending shareholder reject the proposed BHP-Biliton merger at a meeting of shareholders next week on the grounds the deal is not good for Australia.
[ Full Story » ]

Happy Hour for Heineken with a Half-Price Dollar
The key union representing Fosters workers - the LHMU - has expressed serious concern about the reported moves by Heinken to buy out the Australian-based Fosters Corporation.
[ Full Story » ]

Arnotts Workers Call for Consumer Boycott
The union representing the 600 workers set to lose their jobs at Arnotts Melbourne plant in Victoria has called for a consumer boycott of Arnotts products.
[ Full Story » ]

Asian Women at Work: Daring To Act
On Wednesday 18 Vietnamese women outworkers came to Parliament House in Sydney for the launch of the report “Daring to Act”.
[ Full Story » ]

Academic Sacking Sparks Global Row
The NTEU is mounting a national and international campaign on workers’ rights and academic freedom in response to the summary dismissal of a senior academic.
[ Full Story » ]

Labor Councillors Feel Childcare Heat
ALP-endorsed members of local councils face a campaign from trade unions to provide paid maternity leave to workers employed in local government.
[ Full Story » ]

Rail Workers Win Maintenance Security
In a major job security breakthrough for rail workers, Transport Minister Carl Scully has guaranteed that he won’t outsource maintenance of the state’s trains.
[ Full Story » ]

Knitwear Company Stitched Up Over AWAs
A company who worked with the Employment Advocate to frame individual contracts for its workforce faces penalties and back-pay in excess of $100,000.
[ Full Story » ]

Three Stripes and You’re Out
A 29 year old Indonesian union activist, at a factory licensed to Adidas shoes, has been arrested and charged with inciting workers to resist authority.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions and Students Move on Harvard
A three week student sit-in at the wealthiest university in the USA, Harvard, has ignited a national debate on America’s low paid.
[ Full Story » ]

IT Workers Alliance – Last Call for Comment
There’s just one week left for IT workers to give their ideas on the sort of collective structure that would work for them.
[ Full Story » ]

Our News Feed Hits 1000
A red-letter day for LaborNet this week, with our Newsfeed hitting its 1000 story. Fittingly, the story that topped four figures, was about the international labour campaign against slave labour in Burma.
[ Full Story » ]

Activist Notebook
A conference on workplace democracy conference, a new play on refugees and a visitng Indonesia activist are all on this week's activist calendar.
[ Full Story » ]


Letters to the Editor
  • The Great May Day Debate

  • Questions for Macca

  • Qantas on Impulse

  • Compo: The Great Tradition

  • Editorial

    Time For An Editorial Policy

    We've almost managed to make it to 100 issues without having to tackle this one, but no longer. Emerging events have made it necessary to clearly state Workers Online's editorial policy.

    This is a real challenge for a publication that has tried to be something more than a Sussex Street version Pravda, to provide a credible voice for trade unions in the gangland of the mainstream media.

    Over the past two and a half years, we have been actively encouraged to run a range of issues and agendas that do not always coincide with our leadership's - and become a real forum for critical debate.

    One way of retaining our integrity has been to steer clear of internal union affairs, recognizing that these stories generally only serve to diminish the movement as a whole in the public's eyes.

    Even during the recent leadership challenge for Labor Council, we steered clear of commenting on the struggle.

    The heat is now on in a couple of union elections. We have received correspondence this week critical of us for airing comments made in the context of the current battle for control of the CFMEU construction division.

    Our response is that we merely reporting debate that occurred on the floor of Labor Council's weekly meetings, the only public forum NSW trade unions have. We have always held that good faith reporting of such debate is part of Workers Online's brief.

    We have also come under criticism from elements of the ALP for printing material written by members of other political parties, notably the Greens. Indeed, a few weeks ago we, for the first time, agreed to take an article down in a particularly emotionally charged environment.

    We do not shy away from this - we are not the ALP's official journal. But we recognize there are some limits and do not want Workers Online to be a vehicle for other political groups to routinely attack the party that the union movement created.

    So in the light of these recent dilemmas, we publicly state the following principles
    - no comment on internal union affairs, unless in the context of public debate in the Labor Council forum.
    - affiliated unions and their members not to be bagged.
    - only affiliates to criticize Labor Governments.
    - other political groups to be encouraged to debate general issues, but not to use Workers Online as a political soapbox against the ALP.
    - Workers Online to be non-factional in its operation.
    - any of these rules may be broken if the material is particularly entertaining.

    In a perfect world, we would have total editorial independence and purity. But in a perfect world, we wouldn't need trade unions.

    Peter Lewis
    Editor


    Columns

    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Sue Simpson on the Aquilina Affair Jim Maher - Stressed Out Neale Towart's Labour Review The $17 Million Man

     


    
    

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