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




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week


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.


Costa's Angels (l-r) Mary Yaager, Patricia Fernadez, Richard Brennan (aka Bosley), Rita Malia, Nancy Searle

Led by Labor Council's safety watchdog Mary Yaager, the group have been the movement's chief advocates in the specialist working parties that have spent the past two weeks dissecting the Della Bosca package.

They include Trish Fernandez from the Meatworkers, Rita Malia from the CFMEU, the NSW Police Association's Nancy Searle and Joan Lemere from the NSW Teachers Federation. We asked them for their impressions of the negotiations.


Patricia Fernandez represents workers in an industry with the highest assident rates - and highest compensation premiums.

"My background with workers compensation has been dealing with our members in the meat industry, who have been injured at work, and under the current Act have received benefits and have also been stuffed around by the system," she says.

"So from our point of view, we agreed that the current Act had to be amended, although we wouldn't go anywhere near saying that what the Government put before us would be of any way acceptable to us.

As for the consultation process, Fernandez says its been "a huge eye opener." "I have never spent so much time on a campaign with the same group of people. I was just saying I've developed a co-dependent relationship with workers compensation.

"We are such a diverse group. You've got Left, Extreme Left, Centre and Ultra Right, and we have been able to sit down together and reach so much common ground about all the issues."

Nancy Searle from the NSW Police Association says the talks with the government have been making some progress - particularly with the assessment guidelines that will define a person's injury.

"We have had a bit of success in actually having the government agree that they won't be introduced until there is agreement and guidelines are developed within Australia, which is good," Nancy says.

"This essentially means that the way things are at the moment including the cut off stage for psychological injuries which would be better for our members."

And what has she learnt from being involved in the talks? "I've learned about factions, and that can be pretty scary. And I think I have learned more than I already knew - never to trust politicians."

Rita Mallia from the CFMEU has been involved in workers comp for the past five years and says the Della Bosca package, as presented to parliament, was the most Draconian changes she'd ever come across.

While she says the process has been frustrating at times, it has been a worthwhile experience.

"I have got to know my union comrades better than I have ever known them before, and it has been just an incredible learning curve."

As for the negotiations, she is waiting to pass judgment. "On the part of the Government it is a little bit hard to tell at this stage.

"They are making the right signals as far as listening to us, but I guess the proof will be in the next few days, as to whether or not they are in fact taking our ideas and our objections on board."

As for the irrepressible Yaags, the main impact of the talks has been a cut to just one trip to the hairdressers every week. That and forming a close working relationship with the employers, lawyers and doctors.

"I think one of the lessons to emerge in this process is that you have to involve the stakeholders of the Scheme in change, rather than imposing it from on high.

"The Advisory Council that involved unions and employers had been making real progress - the scheme was improving.

"The negotiation process has shown that the trade unions are prepared for reform - we want to work with the government. It's just that our bottom line has to be protecting our members."


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 95 contents

In this issue
*  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.
*  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.
*  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.
*  International: Timor: Time for the Truth
HT Lee was in Dili when the militas ran rampage. Now he wants the truth to come out.
*  History: True Believers
Frank Bongiorno looks at the origins of the Australian Labor Party, which celebrated its centenary of Caucus this week.
*  Corporate: Trust Me, I’m a Multi-National!
BHP unions have united across the factions to urge “No” vote on the planned Billiton merger.
*  Unions: AWAs – A Doomed Future?
ACTU Assistant Secretary Richard Marles plays clairvoyant and predicts a dismal future for AWAs.
*  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.
*  Review: Surviving Survivor
Workers Online's Reality TV correspondent Mark Morey rakes over the coals of the Survivor II result.

»  Carr Government Avoids Own Safety Laws
»  Phantom Employers Face the Flush
»  Primus Suspect? Unions Seek Answers
»  Big Australian’s Merger Faces Rocky Road
»  Happy Hour for Heineken with a Half-Price Dollar
»  Arnotts Workers Call for Consumer Boycott
»  Asian Women at Work: Daring To Act
»  Academic Sacking Sparks Global Row
»  Labor Councillors Feel Childcare Heat
»  Rail Workers Win Maintenance Security
»  Knitwear Company Stitched Up Over AWAs
»  Three Stripes and You’re Out
»  Unions and Students Move on Harvard
»  IT Workers Alliance – Last Call for Comment
»  Our News Feed Hits 1000
»  Activist Notebook

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

Letters to the editor
»  The Great May Day Debate
»  Questions for Macca
»  Qantas on Impulse
»  Compo: The Great Tradition

What you can do

Notice Board
- Check out the latest events

Latest Issue

View entire latest issue
- print all of the articles!

Previous Issues

Subject index

Search all issues

Enter keyword(s):

Workers Online - 2nd place Labourstart website of the year


Wobbly Radio

[ Home ][ Notice Board ][ Search ][ Previous Issues ][ Latest Issue ]

© 1999-2000 Labor Council of NSW

LaborNET is a resource for the labour movement provided by the Labor Council of NSW

Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005

[ Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Credits ]

LaborNET is proudly created, designed and programmed by Social Change Online for the Labor Council of NSW


 Labor Council of NSW

[Workers Online]

[Social Change Online]