Talking union

Issue 

MELBOURNE — The vehicle builders union (VBEF) estimates that at least another 1000 jobs will be lost in related industries as well as the 2000 directly lost as a result of the closure Nissan's Australian car manufacturing operations. Other sources estimate up to 5000 indirect job losses. While the union wants a special redundancy package, Nissan workers are not impressed with a federal government offer of $700,000 towards their retraining. "There's no point training us if there is no job at the end", said one.

  • The Finance Sector Union has announced that it expects 2000 more job losses in the Victorian banking industry this year. ANZ, Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank have all announced plans to shed jobs.

  • An Australian Bureau of Statistics report released in January showed that financial union membership as a percentage of the workforce increased from 48% in 1990 to 50% in 1991. In Victoria the figure rose from 48% to 51%. The unionisation of women workers rose from 40% in 1990 to 44% in 1991. Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary John Halfpenny claims this should mean union membership is increasing, but the sharp jump in unemployment in the same period could affect the figures.

  • The Victorian Trades Hall Council says the government-funded Affirmative Action Agency should be empowered to conduct on the spot audits because many large companies are not living up to their responsibilities. A THC audit found that some companies are "outright liars", said Martina Nightingale. Some 61% of companies investigated by the THC still discriminated against women, directly or indirectly.

  • Elections in the federal and Victorian branches of the Transport Workers Union have been delayed by legal action in the Federal Court over the eligibility of some candidates. The election is expected to be closely fought between a Victorian-based left ticket and the right-wing federal leadership.

SYDNEY — Observers in Canberra are tipping a push on public sector productivity deals in the February 26 federal government economic statement in an attempt to revive Labor's bogged down micro-economic reform plans. A shake-up in the Department of Industrial Relations is predicted.