Interview: The Binds That Tie
Unions: Worth Cycling For
Industrial: The Elephant in the Corner
Legal: A Law Unto Themselves
Politics: Ethically Lonely
History: Women, Unions, Banners and Parades
Women: Relaxed and Comfortable?
International: The Last Social Democrat
Review: The Corpse Bride
Culture: Tony Moore Holds His Own
The Locker Room
A Free Vote
John Bares All
Tom A World Away
Worth Cycling For
Sydney bus driver Narelle Sinclair was so worried about the Howard Government's industrial relations reforms that she got on her bike and rode from Sydney to Canberra.
She was joined by over fifty other riders on the road; taking the message to the nation's capital: rights at work are worth fighting for.
Sinclair is no stranger to riding long distances for a good cause.
In May 2005, Narelle organised a bike ride from Sydney to Melbourne to raise money for CanTeen, a national support organisation for young people living with cancer.
"I have become more and more anxious about the proposed reforms to our industrial system," said Sinclair before the riders departed from Parramatta on a steamy Saturday in November. "If the Howard Government is successful in dismantling the industrial system who will them protect our conditions and who will ensure there is a fair safety net in place for Australian workers."
Battling 35 degree heat, the riders headed off for the first stage, travelling 150 kilometres on the steady climb to Moss Vale.
They were accompanied on the road by a support team in the distinctive, orange Unions NSW Your Rights At Work tour bus.
"The bus kept me honest,' says Dan Walton, who at 22 was one of the youngest riders on the tour.
"I remember riding up a hill about 80 kilometres out of Sydney and another rider came past and asked how old I was.
"When I told him I was 22 he said 'I'm 68, you'll be all right' and then he powered on past!"
For Walton, everyone helping each other out embodied the spirit of the ride. The Your Rights At Work slogan, 'Stronger Together', became a living motto shared by all the participants.
"If a rider stopped for any reason no one passed without offering help,' said Bob Carcary from the ETU. "It was a pleasure to be able to support the cause and to help d others who needed support."
"It was such a good ride I wished we could keep going,"
The riders came from a wide range of unions and occupations, including electricians, construction workers, police officers, teachers and fire fighters, even being joined by federal Labor member for Parramatta, Julie Owen.
They were greeted along the way by union activists at stopovers in Moss Vale, Goulburn and Queanbeyan and received support from passing motorists.
After four days the riders arrived at Parliament House in Canberra, where they were met by Penny Wong, a Labor Senator on the committee that examined the WorkChoices laws, Unions NSW secretary John Robertson and Bob Hayden, national president of the RTBU.
Wong told the riders the legislation would create an underclass of working poor. Maybe bicycles will becoime the preferred mode of transport for everyone.
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