"The Newstart program will basically force the unemployed to work for the dole", says James Basle, an activist in the Sydney Unemployed Workers Union.

"In essence, the government will be subsidising the private sector with public money, and providing industry with a cheap source of labour."

He said the program, in which unemployed people would be forced to sign agreements with CES officers and undergo compulsory job training, was "not only a band-aid solution to bad economic policies" but it could even be used to break up strikes (unemployed people refusing to work will be cut off the dole).

Basle is also involved in producing a newsletter, UPSTART, which aims to keep unemployed people informed of their rights and anti-Newstart activities. Contact UPSTART on 02 690 1220.

Reading Green Left online is free but producing it isn't ...

Green Left aims to make all content available online, without paywalls, but we depend on your support to survive.