The Official Organ of LaborNET
click here to view the latest edition of Workers Online
The Official Organ of LaborNET
Free home delivery
December 2003   

Interview: Muscling Up
Labor�s Craig Emerson discusses how the changes to his party�s leadership will impact on the industrial relations agenda.

Unions: Thinking Pink
What�s the difference between a Nursing Home and an Aged Care Facility? More than semantics, according to nurses worried Australia is woefully unprepared for the crash at the end of the baby-boom cycle, writes Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Global Bully
If nothing else, US-based call centre giant TeleTech is consistent. After being nosed out of last year�s Bad Boss gong it is back, bigger and badder than ever in its search for Tony honours.

Unions: National Focus
In this national round up by Noel Hester, Hugh McKay tells us how the young are sticking together in a bewildered society, the gongs get handed out at the ACTU awards and there is a chance to win as a worthy wordsmith.

Economics: Friend or Flunkey?
On New Years Day as you look at the wine stains and tread on a soggy puddle on the carpet, will you look for the phone and call a cleaner? Gabrielle Meagher gives a few ethical dilemmas to confront before you make that call.

History: Young Blood
Youth is no barrier to political leadership, as the 37-year-old John Watson proved 100 years ago, writes Neale Towart.

Industrial: Living For Work?
Mark Hearn reports from a recent conference addressing the dilemma of work, citizenship and community.

International: Fighting Together
The international trade union movement is launching a Global Unions HIV/AIDS campaign to combat the spread of the virus.

Poetry: Medicare Plus Blues
Is the Government's new health plan a plus for Medicare? Asks resident bard David Peetz

Review: Human Racing
Seabiscuit is a great horse movie but more than that it serves as a powerful metaphor for the importance of living for the future while maintaining passion and compassion in the present, writes Tara de Boehmler.


The Soapbox
Dear John
In his 500th piece of activist journalism, long-term Workers Online contributor Rowan Cahill sends a personal message to our prime Minister.

The Locker Room
Retired Hurt
Every innings comes to an end, some too soon, and others not soon enough, writes Phil Doyle.

Wedge Watch
Labor's Craig Emerson puts the spotlight on the Howard Government's politics of division.

The Westie Wing
Workers Friend Ian West MLC is back with his monthly round-up from Macquarie Street.


A New Mark for Labor
Few of us who care about the future of the labour movement would not admit to a surge of hope and sense of excitement following the election of Mark Latham to the federal parliamentary leadership.


 Peeking Dicks in Pickle

 Lights Out on Cheap Labour

 Blackout Hangs Over Sydney

 Contractors Hang Up on Telstra

 Uni Workers Too Smart For Minister

 Employer Bullies Vie For �Tony�

 South Coast Deal to Build Movement

 TeleTech Safety Rep Vows to Fight On

 Corporates Urged to Come Clean

 MP Too Busy For Teachers

 Bosses Block Good Shops Code

 Engineers Ground Safety System

 Workers Win At Safety Meet

 Merger Threats

 Activists Notebook

 Feds Ignore Building Deaths
 Bob Gould On Kicking The Liberals Out
About Workers Online
Latest Issue
Print Latest Issue
Previous Issues
Advanced Search

other LaborNET sites

Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
Evatt Foundation

Labor for Refugees



National Focus

In this national round up by Noel Hester, Hugh McKay tells us how the young are sticking together in a bewildered society, the gongs get handed out at the ACTU awards and there is a chance to win as a worthy wordsmith.

Message from the young: our most precious resource is each other

If you want to survive in this increasingly turbulent world, get connected, and young people are showing how, social researcher Hugh McKay told the ACTU Executive this week. Hugh outlined some of the trends popping up in his research, most worryingly the sense of bewilderment prevalent in a society racked by thirty relentless years of economic restructuring and a corresponding disengagement from the political process. But more positively he also suggested the rise of a new sense of community among young people.

‘This is a very tribal generation of young Australians and I think their characteristic is that they are inclined to be less individualistic in their attitude, to look out for each other more, to be more concerned about the health of the whole group, not just the health of the individual.’ he said. ‘That isn't yet showing up as young people's vigorous participation in the life of the community necessarily, but I think that's where it's heading and I think that the important sign post into our future is young people saying to the rest of us look, if you want to survive, if you want to thrive in an environment like this where you can't rely on what the future holds, your most precious resource is each other.’

Read more about what Hugh had to say on the ACTU website.

Latham! Latham! Latham!

The king is dead! Long live the king! Love him or hate him, there is one thing you can say about Mark Latham’s elevation to the ALP leadership this week. At least it’s a circuit breaker and we can finally get on with dealing with the real enemy. Watching the ALP slit its wrists for the last two years hasn’t been an edifying sight. Every Labor MP should now have a sign nailed to their wall that says ‘It’s about Howard, stupid’. It’s time to starve the doubt and feed the faith. We can still win!

The ACTU praised outgoing leader Simon Crean for his contribution to the labor movement this week and welcomed Latham with a commitment that we’ll all pull together to get rid of this obnoxious anti-worker government.

Gals Sweep The Gongs At ACTU Awards

The annual ACTU awards got handed out at this week’s executive with the golden gong for best delo going to the NUW’s Jai Badu. Jai works for Heinz Linfox where she has put her considerable mark on her workplace. She managed to sign up all permanent and casual members of staff into her union, won a pile of back pay for all staff, all in the face of substantial heat from the bosses.

The best national campaign went to the National Tertiary Education Union (national office) which mobilised staff across 38 universities to preserve Australia’s higher education system and fight off the Howard Government’s hardline anti-union agenda.

A feature of the awards were the large number of women among the winners. Read more about the winners on the ACTU website.

Looking for the next Sholokov

Creative types in the labour movement are being asked to sharpen up their quills and dust off their typewriters for the inaugural Abe Amaterstein Short Story Competition.

This new national short story competition is being sponsored by New International Bookshop and the Victorian Trades Hall and Literary Institute. If you come up with a good tale with a social change bent you could win $1,500. No more starving in the garret, enough bread and cheese for months! The winning entry will be published in Overland magazine. Entries close on the 6th February 2004. Entry details and forms are available online.

The Victorian State Government has announced a Parliamentary inquiry on Labour Hire and the Victorian Trades Hall Council is seeking feedback from labour hire workers in Victoria to submit to the inquiry. If you fit the bill and have ten minutes to spare fill out their Labour Hire Survey.

In Queensland news, the Productivity Commission has issued an interim report regarding its proposal for a new national workers compensation scheme of which the QCU is firmly opposed. The QCU forwarded a submission and General Secretary Grace Grace gave evidence at a public hearing in Melbourne on 1 December to put forward the QCU’s view that the proposed scheme would damage state workers compensation schemes, particularly if large employers deserted state schemes in favour of a national one. The QCU is currently working on a more detailed submission which will be forwarded in January.

The QCU and Griffith University are doing some research on the issue of trade union organising in the new economy. Dr Bob Russell from Griffith University and QCU affiliates will look at new high growth occupations such as customer service and information-oriented work and on new industries such as call centre sites – typically low-density union areas. The project will determine why these areas have low union membership and what can be done to reverse this trend.

RTBU Queensland Delegates Conference recently discussed the private sector intrusion in Queensland Rail (QR). Chris Corrigan’s Pacific National and Toll Transport are attempting to enter the rail transport arena and the RTBU and its members are working with Queensland Rail to ensure QR market share.

In South Australia, the hundreds of South Australians who lost their lives to asbestos were honoured with a memorial at Kilburn unveiled by Premier Mike Rann on national asbestos day, Friday November 28. UTLC Secretary, Janet Giles says it is appropriate that the memorial be located at Jack Watkins Park in Kilburn, as it is the site of the former Islington Railway Yards. ‘The site is infamous for the large number of workers who died of asbestos related diseases as a result of stripping friable asbestos from railway carriages. It also resulted in wives and children of the workers dying as the workers carried the dust home on their clothes. Asbestos dust also blew around the area into people's homes and yards.’

In other news from SA workers are being urged to support a campaign that kickstarted in Queensland to ensure Aboriginal employees receive compensation for wages and entitlements stolen from them in the past and the UTLC’s dynamic youth wing U-Who have picked up a $150,000 grant from the Foundation for Young Australians

‘This grant will be put to good use, by providing support to workers of their rights, getting information into schools for young people about to enter the workforce, establishing a mentor system, and special programs for culturally and linguistically diverse workers and those of aboriginal background,’ says the UTLC’s youth officer Leif Larsen.

In West Australia 200 union delegates and officials turned up to a very successful organising conference organised by Unions WA in late November. Unions WA secretary Stephanie Mayman says there was a lot of enthusiasm and work put into devising industry strategies to reverse the trend of union decline in the west. ‘The key now is to maintain the momentum and take it forward,’ she says.

The CFMEU, AWU, CEPU and AMWU have signed up with the State government and the ACTU an agreement on the Burup Fertiliser site which sets a framework to work together to build union membership and establish organising rights.


email workers to a friend printer-friendly version latest breaking news from labornet

Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue

© 1999-2002 Workers Online
Workers Online is a resource for the Labour movement
provided by the Labor Council of NSW
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005

Powered by APT Solutions
Labor Council of NSW Workers Online