WL Aus 37

Howard's plan: smash unions

Published on: Sat, 16/04/2005 - 07:59

Is it the industrial relations system that Howard is out to smash, or is it the industrial power of unions?

"It seems incredible that we would see a hundred years of a fair system that has underpinned one of the richest economies in the world [changed] because business says it doesn’t have enough power. I don’t think any Australian is going to accept that" said ACTU President Sharan Burrow in response to the Howard Governments next plans for industrial relations.

Howard's new proposals build on Peter Reith's Workplace Relations Act (WRA), which already undermines and penalises basic unionism.

The Australian labour movement today

Published on: Sat, 16/04/2005 - 07:55

The Australian labour movement is in deep trouble. Not just the left wing, or the radicals, but the whole movement.

According to the ACTU: "Latest union membership figures show around 25% of them are in unions. Over the last two years union membership numbers increased by 24,500 members a year. Union membership currently stands at 1,902,700 members".

The recent increase in union density is very welcome, and it reflects tremendous organising efforts in some sectors. The ACTU reports:

"Over the last twelve months union membership increased in several industries:

* In accommodation, cafes and

Tsunami relief: social justice not just charity

Published on: Sat, 16/04/2005 - 07:48

The scale of the current crisis has as much to do with poverty and injustice as with 'nature'.
Trade unions play an important role in education, health and community initiatives across the world that help people fight back. I encourage you to read about the work of the Australian union movement's aid organisation APHEDA and to consider establishing a regular donation.

We need to think beyond the crisis. The estimated 200,000 people who will have died from the tsunami join 3 million people who will die this year from AIDS related diseases. Millions more will die prematurely from dirty water,

Israel/Palestine: "all of us will pay"

Published on: Sat, 09/04/2005 - 09:24

At the same meeting in which it decided to implement the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government took an even more important decision: to complete the wall in the West Bank.

As of now, preparations are moving rapidly ahead for the building of three new towns between the Green Line and the wall: "Gevaot" in the Etzion Bloc, "Zufim North" near Kalkilia and a contiguous built-up area connecting Jerusalem with Ma’aleh Adumim. More big housing projects are planned east of Har Homa and east of A-Ram.

This means violating the promise given to President Bush, violating international

Free the Liaoyang Two!

Published on: Sat, 09/04/2005 - 09:21

An appeal for Chinese worker activists

Xiao Yunliang and Yao Fuxin were arrested in March 2002 for leading 30,000 laid-off workers from the Liaoyang Ferro-Alloy Plant, and other local factories, in street protests. The workers were protesting against alleged managerial corruption and demanding many months of unpaid wages.

In June 2003, Xiao was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, Yao was given a seven-year prison sentence, both on charges of political "subversion".

Now they are imprisoned far from their families. Both suffer poor health. On 21 January 2005, the International Confederation

Australia/Iraq Trade Union Solidarity (AUSIRAQ)

Published on: Sat, 09/04/2005 - 09:17

A Sydney group has been formed to raise money for and build links with Iraqi unions. In July a meeting initiated by Workers Liberty held at the Gaelic Club led to the formation of the Australia/Iraq Trade Union Solidarity group. Frustration with the refusal of most of the left to support the struggle of the workers’ movement in Iraq gave rise to this development.

A fund raiser in December raised several hundred dollars which has been distributed to union groups in Iraq.
If you want to find out more, feel free to join the AUSIRAQ email list, send a blank email to ausiraq-subscribe@yahoogroups

Elections unleash employers

Published on: Sat, 09/04/2005 - 09:15

Bosses seek longer hours, more exploitation, by Wayne Sonter, from Shorter Work Week News No. 26 Jan 2005

Voters in Australia and United States - two countries whose workforces already work the longest annual hours of the world’s industrial economies – recently returned the reactionary Bush & Howard governments, entrenching them more deeply in power and giving them the ability to make laws that will severely punish the working classes of both countries.

Their re-election also encourages further blatant imposition of US imperial might around the world.
In USA the Bush regime prepares to use

Boss watch

Published on: Sat, 09/04/2005 - 09:12

By Lynn Smith

In its last days, Iraq’s US appointed interim administration mysteriously transferred US$500 million to an obscure bank in Lebanon. The loot was quietly removed from Iraq’s Central Bank, placed in boxes then flown by charter jet to Lebanon. Ironically, the cash transfer came the day after George W. Bush’s obscenely expensive inauguration circus in the US during which he pledged to "oppose corrupt, oligarchic regimes".

William Adams, a direct descendent of Tattersalls’ founder George

After the new economy

Published on: Sat, 09/04/2005 - 09:09

Doug Henwood's book After the New Economy in review (New York, The New Press, 2003)

Doug Henwood, is an independent leftwing economic commentator and critic of capitalism. He edits of the Left Business Observer web site which he founded in 1986. According to Znet he was "briefly a conservative and a member of the Party of the Right, which manoeuvred his election as Secretary of the Political Union, but he quickly came to his senses."

In After the New Economy Henwood raises some interesting questions and offers a few insights about the "less-than-lustrous reality beneath the gloss of the 1990s

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