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John Passant

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June 2012



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
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Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

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Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Fairfax to offshore jobs

Fairfax has told the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (the MEAA) it will go ahead with its plans to send 66 sub-editing jobs from regional newspapers, especially those in Newcastle and Wollongong, to New Zealand.

Two weeks ago Fairfax staff walked off the job for 3 days in response to the proposal. This was illegal strike action under Labor’s industrial laws and the union leadership painted it as a membership initiative, presumably to try to avoid $33,000 daily fines on the union.

Illegal strike action is what is needed again, only more so.

The MEAA statement condemns the decision but seems to accept it. Certainly there is no talk of further action or even meetings.

I don’t know the ins and outs of the situation and will be happy to be proved wrong but my guess is the union leadership are shit scared of their members and their militancy more than they are of Fairfax.

The union put an alternative sub-hub proposal based in Australia centred on cutting jobs from 60 to 40. Their statement claimed this would have been more effective than offshoring in reducing staff numbers.  Don’t believe me?  Here is what their statement said, in part:

The sub hub proposal would have reduced the number of journalists previously seen as necessary in stand-alone newsroom structures from about 60 staff to 40. Given the local knowledge and expertise of existing staff, it would be possible to operate in Newcastle and Wollongong with fewer staff numbers than the company’s flawed New Zealand scheme.

It is or rather should not be the role of unions to propose to management how to cut jobs. It should be its role to defend all jobs under threat, not throw one third to the wolves. 

Perhaps what was driving the union leadership was not so much the job losses but their offshoring to New Zealand.

And maybe Julia Gillard’s industrial relations laws have emasculated the leadership. That is why the rank and file needs to take control of the fight to defend jobs.

If Fairfax can get away with this, no area will be safe.

Now that the union leadership’s plan for cutting jobs and costs has collapsed, the only alternative to defend all the jobs immediately under threat and those in the future likely to be under attack is to strike, and not just for 3 days.

That action would also be illegal under Labor’s industrial laws.

Clearly it is the role of the rank and file to win the argument for a strike, an indefinite strike, and impose the decision on the MEAA leadership if necessary.

When the union members went out two weeks ago, scabs ran the production of Fairfax’s major papers like the Financial Review, the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. They could not produce a decent paper long term but they could hold out for a few days.

If MEAA members went out indefinitely at Fairfax the revenue loss would in all likelihood quickly drag management back to the negotiating table.

Many years ago the BLF had a slogan – if you don’t fight you lose. It is as true today as it was then.

Close Fairfax down until it withdraws its job cuts.

John is a member of the MEAA.



Comment from michael swanton
Time June 12, 2012 at 8:21 pm

let us get real! 18% Union membership in Australia with workers. The consumer of fairfax is fundamental to any real impact on outsourcing of labour. if Australians give a shit[, and they do, the buyer of a fairfax newspaper needs to tell fairfax it ain’t fair that they are screwing their workers, don’t purchase a paper for a week or two, or never, and Australians stand for a fair go. fair suck of the sav. fair facts! Michael Swanton. Secretary, Association of Australian Workers (not affiliated to any political party).

Comment from John
Time June 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Michael, maybe it is because strikes are their lowest in decades that we only have 18% union membership. Maybe, just maybe, when unions strike people join them. Relying on consumers is a strategy that doesn’t cut off the flow of profits at its most immediate – the point of production; doesn’t give workers a sense of their own strength, and only reinforces in the bosses’ mind the need to cut the workforce if circulation does drop further.

Comment from John
Time June 12, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Thanks Jason. No, I am cutting my toenails then.

Comment from paul walter
Time June 14, 2012 at 2:28 am

As with the rest of you. I find it galling, to my guts. Big Yellow Taxi and Joni Mitchell:
“Don’t it always seem to go,
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till its gone”
Particularly when immediately after, and
always breaking their word,
“They paved Paradise,
And put up a parking lot.”

John, do you use scissors or clippers for that?

Comment from John
Time June 14, 2012 at 10:13 am


Pingback from En Passant » Fairfax, Rinehart and defending media jobs
Time June 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm

[…] John is a member of the MEAA. You might also like to read Fairfax to offshore jobs. […]

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