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Issue #1734      June 8, 2016


A report by the international Transport Workers’ Federation shows that a high turnover of lowly paid and poorly trained staff leads to less vigilance on security risks and safety hazards. It highlights Sydney airport where at any one time there are hundreds of workers with a temporary pass, those who have not yet had background security checks. Over 40% of aviation workers here are on part-time hours; almost $40 % take home $700 or less per week. We know this problem is not confined to Australia and because conditions for staff are being driven down elsewhere, it is having an effect on conditions here because of the government’s “Open Skies” policy. Not only does it mean working families are struggling, it clearly impacts on airport safety and security as this report demonstrates, according to Transport Workers’ Union national secretary Tony Sheldon. The report lists Qantas and Sydney Airport among the airlines and airports with the highest profits worldwide.

In NSW the Health Services Union (HSU) is campaigning against cuts to the services with the slogan – “Health Workers. We All Matter”. The Baird government’s $3 billion cuts to health will see: 3,600 hospital workers sacked; $2.2 billion in services cut; $775 million in staffing cuts. And the destruction of the health system by the present government does not stop there. Vital services for the most disadvantaged women in NSW will be outsourced to an NGO! So a charity will take over such services as cervical and breast cancer checks, post-natal screenings and even domestic violence assistance. Heart disease, sexually-transmitted infections support and sexual assault services for disadvantaged women will be handed over as well. It is always the most disadvantaged members of our society who have to put up with these vicious, half-baked schemes and specifically services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, refugees and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, women with disabilities including mental illness, women experiencing domestic and family violence and women from socio-economically disadvantaged communities. Women’s health services have been provided by professional clinics with professional health service staff. Saying that an NGO “must provide a standard service at least equal to current clinical service” is to admit that quality and access will fall away.

It is very hard to get reliable figures on unemployment. Every trick in the book is used to make figures look better than they are. Working a couple of hours a week means that a person is deemed to be “employed”. Common sense is usually not applied in such cases. A lot has been written about how many jobs will be created in SA because $50 billion will be spent on the production of submarines. As a matter of fact, there will be only 3,000 jobs – a very poor return for the money, if you ask me! There are 70,000 unemployed in SA (officially). Roy Morgan Research on real unemployment figures shows an unemployment figure of 2 million nationwide!

Next article – Culture & Life – Right-wing shenanigans

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