Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 98 Official Organ of LaborNet 01 June 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Balancing the Books
Opposition Finance spokesman Lindsay Tanner on bringing a Labor agenda to managing the nation’s finances.
*  Compo: Undampened Spirits
Despite atrocious weather, building workers took to the streets this work over the carnage in their workplace. Mark Hebblewhite was there.
*  Unions: Giving Blood
Local government workers are mounting a campaign to have leave to give blood donations recognised in their award.
*  Women: A Checklist for Women Voters
With a mountain of demands on Australian working women, the biggest question could well be which is the biggest?
*  History: May Day Meditation
May Day has been and gone, but we thought Peter Linebaugh’s take on its meaning was worth reading on all the other days too.
*  International: The Weeks of Living Dangerously
The now almost inevitable fall of Indonesia’s President Abdurrahman Wahid could have drastic consequences for the increasingly militant working class movement in that country.
*  Economics: No More Mr Nice Guy
In his new book, Steven Keen outlines why the public needs to know that economics is intellectually unsound.
*  Satire: NZ to be Disbanded
Following the successful disbanding of the armed forces the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, has unveiled a new bold plan to total disband the entire nation.
*  Review: Action in the House
Workers Online’s Big Brother Addict argues the time has come for the contestant’s to take some industrial action.

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Workers Online - 2nd place Labourstart website of the year


Wobbly Radio


Making a Noise for Compo

Twenty Grand – The Cost of a Life in 2001
Building workers have called on the Carr Government to introduce a new crime of “industrial manslaughter” after a builder was last week fined just $20,000 over the death of a 17-year-old apprentice.
[ Full Story » ]

Compo Protest Virtually Ignored
The NSW Parliament has rejected more than 300 statements of protest against the state’s workers compensation laws because it refuses to recognise online petitions.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers Tell Jodie: It's a Bit Rich
Workers and unions are targetting fallen business page glamour boys, Brad Keeling and Jodee Rich, along with industry player, Optus, in a bid to save workers entitlements in the wake of One.Tel's failure.
[ Full Story » ]

Disbelief at Dubai in the Sky
Revelations that Qantas is training strike-breaking labour in Manila have been met with anger and disbelief by the airline’s workforce.
[ Full Story » ]

Wage Rise For Two Million Workers
The NSW Industrial Relations Commission has delivered a pay rise to the estimated two million workers employed under minimum rate state awards.
[ Full Story » ]

Casuals Win Parental Leave Rights
In a landmark breakthrough for Australian casuals, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission has awarded maternity and parental leave rights for more than two million casuals across the country.
[ Full Story » ]

Egan Budget Welcomed – But Social Audit Still on Agenda
The Labor Council of NSW says this week's State Budget appeared to be a budget consistent with labour values but has renewed its call for a social audit to chart the distribution of need.
[ Full Story » ]

Bad Rosters ‘Like Being Drunk’
Security guards working at the Army Barracks in Randwick reckon that the individual employment contracts they were forced to sign are affecting their health.
[ Full Story » ]

Nurses Act on Ward Rage
Nurses have launched an education campaign in the face of a wave of violence in the state’s emergency wards – including attacks with knives and guns.
[ Full Story » ]

Council Workers Brace for Border Skirmish
Plans to merge the Albury and Wodonga City Councils have sparked concerns about which state’s industrial relations system should apply to the workforce.
[ Full Story » ]

Meatworkers Win in Federal Court
Meatworkers who have endured lockouts, pay cuts and intimidation have just won an important case in the Federal Court which will see them get thousands of dollars in back pay.
[ Full Story » ]

Hotel Bosses Linked to Tobacco Industry
Hospitality industry workers have challenged the Australian Hotel Association to come clean on its links to the tobacco industry.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers Demand Treaty With Indigenous Australia
The ACTU has demanded that the Federal Government deliver justice to indigenous Australians by recognising a treaty as the next step towards true reconciliation.
[ Full Story » ]

Activists Notebook
A talk by a Blair Insider organised by the Fabian Socialists, a gig against Howard and fundraisers for West Sahara and the Robertson campaign are all on this week's activists' agenda.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Pop and Politics - Where's Billy??

  • Satire is not Serious

  • Toasting May Day

  • WorkCover - Questions for NRMA

  • Editorial

    What’s In A Name?

    The time has come to declare war on vice that is eating away at the trade union movement like a cancer.

    It is a vice that has thrived through the period of trade union amalgamations and has now taken hold in a most insidious manner burying hard-working union officials under the weight of convoluted titles and meaningless acronyms.

    I am speaking of course about the trade union movement's need to give everyone in the hierarchy a title. We've always had our secretaries and presidents - but today they are the lucky few.

    Around them are scores of Assistant National Secretaries (all with their own Division in the title), Divisional Vice-Presidents, even some Brach Assistant Secretary/Treasurers. Indeed, in my own organization, I count three Deputy Assistant Secretaries as colleagues.

    And if that is not enough, many of them are burdened with organizations that carry titles that not only twist the tongues, but torture the English Language.

    Some of my favourites are the Australian Services Union (Services Branch), the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union and the ubiquitous Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

    All are fine trade unions, all have benefited in some way from merging resources from a range of smaller bodies. But all run the risk of acronym-ing themselves out of any real meaning.

    My biggest problem with all these titles and convoluted acronyms is that it highlights the overly-institutional nature of trade unions rather than the work they do on the ground.

    As surveys warn us that young people see unions are part of the power structure, rather than being on their side, it is a dangerous message. If you were wanting to brand a movement like our's, you would start by making it reflect the members, not the structure.

    And in more practical terms, in a media where there are limited column inches, we should not be filling up the space with our titles or the full names of our unions. What space there is should be kept with the message we are trying convey.

    Accordingly, 'Workers Online' will begin the campaign forthwith. Form this issue onwards the following principles will be applied:
    - no titles for union officials, they'll just be identified as being from their union - (ie the ACTU's Greg Combet)
    - any union with more than three words in the title will be cut down, the abbreviation representing an attempt to indicate who the union is representing (eg Construction Union, Hospitality Union, Manufacturing Union, etc)
    - the ACTU can keep its acronym, as it most people seem to recognise it.

    For those with a deep affection for their union's particular acronym, I apologise. But desperate times call for desperate measures.


    Meanwhile, we are fast approaching our century of issues. Major celebrations and a special commemorative book are being planned. Keep July 2 in your diaries, final details will be posted in Issue 99.

    In an effort, to synchronise the 100th with this date - and to give me a bit of a mid-year respite - we'll be running the next two issues on a fortnightly basis. So we'll be back for Issue 99 in two weeks.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Once Was a Big Australian Are Desk Potatoes Holding Our Movement Back? Paul Howes’ Week on the Web Bad Monk For Love



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