News briefs


Court rules against Rio Tinto

A Federal Court ruling has found that three union delegates at the Rio Tinto-owned Hunter Valley No. 1 colliery were victimised when they had leave for union business "unreasonably refused". The company threatened the three miners with dismissal after two attended proceedings at the Industrial Relations Commission and the other attended a union delegates' meeting.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union mining division president Tony Maher said the ruling was important because it upheld the rights of union delegates.

Call to defer forest agreement

The annual conference of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) has unanimously called for the southern regional forest agreement to be deferred until March 2000.

The conference rejected the government's push to supply woodchips to the Japanese company Daishowa. "The state government is rushing the assessment of forests between Nowra and Narooma before the community fully appreciates what is at stake", said Dr Judy Messer, NCC chairperson.

NCC believes a deferral will allow the forests to be properly assessed and a plan prepared to redirect the wood products industry towards plantation resources.

International anti-WTO day

Groups including the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and People's Global Action, founded by Mexico's Zapatistas, have called an international day of action against the World Trade Organisation for November 30 — dubbed "N30". Strikes, walk-outs, pickets, occupations and more are planned to protest against the WTO ministerial conference in Seattle, USA, in November.

The organisers say the WTO is a "union" of the largest corporations and most powerful nations to crush workers' rights, social well-being and the environment. It enforces "free trade" agreements to maximise profits.

The main action will be in Seattle, but activities are being organised in Australia also. Phone the IWW on (07) 3252 9921 for more information.