NSW community workers rallied outside the office of Employers First, the State's employer umbrella body, to protest against the bosses' push to have them trade off working conditions in return for wage increases. The Australian Services Union, which represents the workers, has been involved in a legal battle with Employers First to ensure that these workers receive the $17 weekly increase handed down by the Full Bench of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, without trade-offs. The employees include youth workers, women's refuge workers, drug and alcohol counsellors, disability support workers, migrant support, and Aboriginal community and neighbourhood centre employees.
* * *A Cairns-based Customs Officer has been given an ultimatum: move 1800 kilometres away from your children or lose your job. The Level 3 Customs Officer Ashley Webb has 23 years experience. He has been directed by Customs to leave his position in Cairns and return to Brisbane or be sacked. Mr Webb, who is divorced and has a 50/50 custody arrangement of his children, said it would be impossible to meet his custodial duties with his children living in Cairns while he was working in Brisbane. His union, the Community and Public Sector Union, has been negotiating with Customs for several months over the situation to no avail. Mr Webb offered to take a pay cut to stay in Cairns. Customs rejected this and a range of other compromises. * * *NSW teachers voted overwhelmingly last week to undertake a 48- hour stoppage on February 11 and 12 if the Carr Government refuses to deliver a fair deal on teachers' salaries and other claims. The stoppage will affect public schools, TAFE Colleges, the Adult Migrant English Service and Corrective Services. The teachers also voted to support bans on the writing of school reports and the government's teaching agenda which includes the year 3 and year 6 Basic Skills Test and the marking of HSC examinations. * * *The ACT Government passed ground-breaking Industrial Manslaughter legislation on November 27. The Crimes (Industrial Manslaughter) Bill 2002 was passed with the support of crossbenchers Kerrie Tucker MLA (Green), Roslyn Dundas MLA (Democrat) and Helen Cross MLA (Independent). ACT Industrial Relations Minister Katy Gallagher said, "The challenge for those who oppose this legislation is to convince me that any employer who significantly contributes to the death of a worker through a reckless or negligent act should not be charged with a criminal offence". Ms Gallagher said the legislation was necessary to deal with the legal loophole available to corporate entities in the event of workplace deaths.