workers

“My work life became unbearable!”

Summer/Autumn 1994

In 1982 Karen Sellenger began teaching humanities in a technical school. She taught full-time in Melbourne’s northern suburbs until she took a “voluntary” redundancy package (VDP) in April 1993. I spoke to Karen, who is now unemployed, about how voluntary this was. “The school went through a ‘reorganisation.’ After the amalgamation, the new school was… Read more »

WorkCover Uncovered: Adding Poverty to Injury

Winter/Spring 1993

WorkCover terrorises injured workers. The Kennett government’s WorkCover legislation strips away any lingering illusions about how far capitalism will go to secure profit by sacrificing the workers who produce it.

Filling the Glass of Struggle

Summer 1992/1993

Much has been said already about the record 6% swing against the Australian Labor Party in the October 3 Victorian state elections, resulting in the election of Kennett and his band of small business barbarians. There is no doubt that working people in Victoria are faced with an onslaught, the like of which we haven’t… Read more »

Workers Demand More, Not Less

Summer/Autumn 1992

The connection between workers and users of public and community sector services is a natural alliance. The demands of the More, Not Less campaign, adopted at its public meeting in August 1991, reflects the diversity of support and the unity of our struggles.

Public Transport Attacks Must Be Defeated

Summer/Autumn 1990

This dispute must be widened, now, if it is to succeed. ARU members must ignore the union’s Executive Officers’ sellout policy and take industrial action, both in support of the workers and for their own jobs and conditions. This government is out to get all of us and if we don’t hang together, we’ll be hung separately. 

‘Equal Opportunity’ in 1988 – A Balance Sheet

Summer 1988/1989

The limitations of seeking employment equality within the existing structures are clear. Equal opportunity programs only provide the option for some to get nearer to the top of an unequal system. We need to defend and extend such reforms by using them as tools to protect existing rights and gains. But reforms cannot finally redress the inequitable position of women and other oppressed groups in the labour market, let alone society as a whole.

Bosses’ court cuts pay again, but demands “work harder!”

Summer 1988/1989

For more than 80 years the working class in this country has been shackled to the capitalists through the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. This has held workers back, kept them impoverished, derailed their attempts to break the chains. The Accord, which is the parent of the new wage system is the latest attempt to clothe the emperor.

Footplate Classics

Summer 1988/1989

I am a lesbian feminist. Between 1979 and 1984 I worked as a locomotive assistant training to be a train driver for the  Victorian Railways in Australia. At one time six women were training at South Dynon Loco and four women in country areas. Dianne Brown became qualified as a train driver in 1985. Unfortunately the other women left. The attitudes of many of the men working in the railways added to on the job pressure. I have put some of these attitudes into poetic form.

Launching the Public Sector Fightback

Summer 1988

We must all encourage and build the leadership of the most oppressed within the struggle. This task is all to clear in the public sector where, in many industries, women are a clear majority yet, almost without exception, we are, as a group, at the bottom of the heap.