News Briefs

August 1, 2001

Nestles continue lock-out

MELBOURNE — Multinational Nestles has continued it's lockout of 100 food process and maintenance workers at Echuca into the seventh week. The lockout is the result of an enterprise bargaining negotiation in which Nestles has tried to establish harsh work practices.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union members have maintained a picket line for the seven weeks and have recently held a solidarity and family day for the locked out workers.

The company continues its claim for longer shifts and greater flexibility of its workers while refusing to budge on the claims of workers, such as a finishing date for the agreement which would allow for the workers at Nestles to line up their agreement with others in the industry.

Iraqi communists celebrate

SYDNEY — On July 22, the Australian committee of the Worker Communist Party of Iraq (WCPI) celebrated the eighth anniversary of the party's founding with a dinner and live music at Parramatta Town Hall.

More than 100 party members and their supporters attended, including members of the Worker Communist Party of Iran, the Democratic Socialist Party, the Socialist Alliance, Resistance and activists involved in the Free the Refugees Campaign, in which the WCPI has been playing a central role.

Speakers from these organisations commended the work of the WCPI and expressed their support for the party's immediate demands — the lifting of the United States' blockade on Iraq, an end to the oppression of women in Iraq, for self-determination for Kurdistan, and for full human rights and democracy in a country ravaged by both military dictatorship and US imperialism.

Workers push for 35-hour week

BRISBANE — Public servants will launch a campaign for a 35-hour working week as part of a log of claims adopted by the Queensland Public Sector Union (QPSU) at its July 26 state conference on the Gold Coast.

The industrial package to be put before the state government also includes a centralised wage system for government employees and the abolition of certified agreements in the public sector.

QPSU secretary Gordon Rennie commented: "Society and technology have advanced significantly, and as we kick off the 21st century it is time to introduce the seven-hour day or 35-hour week."

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