|Subject: New ACTU chief spends May Day
The Age Monday 1 May 2000
New ACTU chief spends May Day helping Timor
By PAUL ROBINSON WORKPLACE EDITOR
New ACTU president Sharan Burrow will spend her first day in the job,
May Day, advising workers how to develop a trade union system in East
Ms Burrow warned Australian companies that have set up shop in the
emerging nation they were expected to operate under the same workplace
principles that applied in Australia.
Ms Burrow was scheduled to arrive in Dili today after meetings with
unionists in India as part of a delegation that will hold talks with
United Nations officials and non-government organisations. With her are
ATSIC chairman Geoff Clark, Northern Territory Labor MP Warren Snowden and
Senator Trish Crossin.
Ms Burrow said in a statement the formation of unions in East Timor,
banned when it was an Indonesian province, was fundamental to rebuilding
the ravaged nation. They would soon cover employees in the construction,
medical, teaching, transport, ports and UN sectors.
"This is a very critical time for the East Timorese people,"
she said. "The reconstruction of the newest nation of the 21st
century must involve democratic organisations such as unions that speak
for the people.
"The interests and rights of working people lie at the core of
every community and these fledgling unions will be there from the start.
"The economic circumstances have been difficult for all in East
Timor recently - Australian companies will be expected to use the same
operating guidelines that apply to them in Australia," Ms Burrow
East Timorese workers would be able to join unions officially when the
"transitional administration" made a commitment to International
Labor Organisation principles, she said.
Mr Clark said there was much common ground between the East Timorese
and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, "particularly ...
the challenges of overcoming unemployment, poor health and inadequate
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