German "Hot Autumn"

Hartin, Tony thartin at
Wed Oct 2 16:26:00 MDT 1996

 >  From: Jorn Andersen <jorn.andersen at>
  >  Date: Wed, 02 Oct 1996 02:40:12 +0200
  >  Subject: Re: German "Hot Autumn"
  >  Thank you, Jon, for the details - that sounds really bad in my
  >   ears.
  >  Just for comparision I will give some details from my conditions as a
  >  Telecom worker in Denmark. This would be quite typical, although I have
  >  benefit of usually not working nights and weekends, which a lot of
  >  do - most get extra, but some don't.

I'm not sure where this discussion is going at the moment, but as I work for
Telecom in Australia I too will give details of my work conditions.

Paradoxically, Australia was one of the highest unionised countries in the
world, but I wouldn't be surprised if the decline per capita over the last
10 years hasn't also been the highest in the world.

Australian telecom (or telstra as it is now known) has been preparing for
privatisation for the last few years. The whole company used to be unionised
but I work for a relatively new part of it which isn't. Every time I ask the
union about our part they say "we are in negotiations with management".

I have been working under an employment contract which specifies no sick
pay, no holidays, no leave of any sort. The hours to be worked are at the
employers discretion. I cannot resign without being sued, the employer can
sack me on the spot. No lunch breaks are specified.

For about 6 months 4 of us were covering 24 hours 7 days a week (at a fixed
hourly rate). We were working 12 1/2 hour shifts without a lunch break (we
had to eat at our desks as we worked). If one of us was too sick to come in
to work the other 3 had to cover.

The employers in Australia want to move everyone onto contracts.

It doesn't matter what workers are defending or fighting for. A victory for
workers anywhere would give us more heart.

Tony hartin.

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