News briefs

July 24, 2002

News briefs

Save women’s studies at Deakin University!

GEELONG — Despite a 20-year history of strong enrolments and a national and international reputation, Deakin University’s women’s studies program is about to be gutted. More than 800 students are currently enrolled in the course, and that number is growing.

The university is moving to fragment the course, replacing it with a collection of units from a variety of other disciplines.

A protest rally against the cutbacks is planned for August 12 at Mutant Way, Deakin University, Burwood Campus, 221 Burwood Hwy, Melbourne. For more information contact Cathy at the Deakin University Student Association by emailing <> or by phoning (03) 5227 3322.

Child support workers protest

MELBOURNE — On July 18, Community and Public Sector Union members working in the Child Support Agency's offices across Australia walked off the job to attend separate worksite union meetings. This was the was the first stage in a campaign to improve pay, limit the length of time rostered on phones and to protest the recent closure of the CSA's regional service centre in Alice Springs.

Members voted to continue industrial action if management don't agree to a log of claims in the next round of negotiations on July 26. Proposals for industrial action under consideration include work-to-rule and a three-hour or half-day national stoppage.

Hazaras: Don't send us back to Afghanistan

SYDNEY — The first Sydney public meeting of Hazaras to discuss the plight of refugees and asylum seekers from their community was held at Auburn Town Hall on July 14. Mohammed Hoshnand Weja, from the newly formed Hazara Welfare and Cultural Association, told Green Left Weekly that the purpose of the meeting was to inform and build support among Australian citizens for the Hazaras’ plea not be to be forcibly returned to Afghanistan.

The seminar was addressed by many Hazaras on temporary protection visas who described the history of persecution of the Hazara people in Afghanistan and explained that little had changed after the fall of the Taliban. Representatives of a range of refugees’ rights and community welfare groups also spoke.

The Hazara Welfare and Cultural Association can be contacted at <>.

Longer hours for Mt Isa workers

 BRISBANE — A survey conducted by the Australian Workers Union (AWU) of 800 underground miners at the Mount Isa Mine has found that workers are exhausted by working 12-hour shifts. Nearly 90% of the respondents worked a 12-hour shift on a rotation of two day shifts, two night shifts, a 24-hour break and two night shifts followed by a four-day break.
Despite 52% of underground miners reporting they are very tired or exhausted by the end of the shift and opposing longer hours, Mount Isa Mines are moving to 16-hour shifts.
AWU Mount Isa organiser Ray Harris told the July 8 North West Star that union has not been consulted about the shift to a 52-hour week. The AWU has filed a dispute notice with Queensland Industrial Relations Commission in Brisbane.

Union Defence Committee Formed

PERTH — The July 18 inaugural meeting of the Union Defence Committee resolved to build community support for the trade-union movement in the face of Coalition government attacks. The unionists and activists at the meeting decided to immediatly focus on defending the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, which is currently under fire from the building industry royal commission, and the Victorian Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, which is under attack from state and federal governments. The next meeting will be at the Hellenic Club in Stirling Street, Perth at 6.30pm on August 5. All are welcome to attend.

From Green Left Weekly, July 24, 2002.
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