Action updates

January 26, 2000

Action updates

Queensland rail workers stop work

BRISBANE — Rail workers around Queensland stopped work on January 19 to discuss a pay claim for 12% over two years. The meetings voted for possible ongoing rolling stoppages if Queensland Rail fails to improve on its "insulting" offer of 6.5% over two years.

Queensland Council of Unions state industrial officer David Dawes reported that meetings were held in Brisbane, Rockhampton, Townsville and Gladstone. "Given that senior executives of the corporation have received 50% pay increases in the last six months, the 12% the employees are pursuing would seem quite reasonable", Dawes said. "We are hoping Queensland Rail will see some sense in negotiating with us further — but it hasn't happened so far."

Protest against irradiation plant

BRISBANE — Three hundred people attended a public meeting in Caboolture on January 14 to protest against a planned nuclear irradiation plant at Narangba. Local residents are campaigning to stop Steritech Pty Ltd from developing the plant in an area of paperbark wetlands which has recently been rezoned to allow the development. The proposed plant would use highly radioactive cobalt-60 rods which would be stored in an underground containment pond.

The overwhelming sentiment at the meeting was not only "not in our backyard", but "not anywhere". In 1999, Steritech lobbied to allow food to be irradiated, resulting in a July decision by State Health to reduce standards in food irradiation. Steritech already own food irradiation plants in Dandenong in Victoria and Weatherill Park in NSW.

Appeal for peace

SYDNEY — One hundred people gathered in Martin Place on January 19 to hear Christian and Muslim leaders call for an end to the communal violence in the Moluccas in eastern Indonesia.

The "Appeal for Peace" rally heard from the Uniting Church in Australia's president-elect, Reverend Professor James Haire, the president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Abbas Ahmed, and the president of the Australian-Indonesian Muslim-Christian Council, Martin Loubatty. All stressed the need for Muslims and Christians to work together for peace. The gathering was called by the National Council of Churches in Australia and the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.

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