The Guardian November 12, 2003


Labour Notes

Job strain and job insecurity show strong links with poor health, 
particularly mental health, finds a study in the Journal of 
Epidemiology and Community Health. Researchers in Australia 
assessed 1188 employed professionals, aged 40-44 years, and found 
that the 30% of respondents who reported high or moderate job 
insecurity were much more likely to suffer not only depression 
and anxiety, but also physical health problems. The results are 
worrying as these adverse job conditions are on the increase, 
particularly insecure or casual employment, say the authors.

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Cleaners in NSW state schools say they are not surprised by news reports that conditions at Liverpool Boys High School were making staff and students sick. "The problems at Liverpool Boys High School are symptomatic of problem with the state-wide cleaning contract an inbuilt contradiction which demands cutting the working hours but maintaining top class health standards", said Annie Owens, NSW Secretary of the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union. "There is no new technology available to replace the hours needed to clean a toilet, the time needed to ensure there is adequate toilet paper and soap for students and staff." Ms Owens says the union has been warning the NSW Government for months that a health crisis existed. Cleaners working in public schools are now mounting a state-wide campaign to lobby MPs to win the respect for their important role in the school system.
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Patrick boss Chris Corrigan is ideologically connected to badly behaved robots according to Brisbane Wharfies. Patrick has been trialling un-manned robot straddle cranes for 14 months and according to waterside workers they have been getting up to some shenanigans. On October 13 one of the contraptions threw a wobbly and the robot crashed through a metal fence into the adjoining area and in another incident two of the robots had an altercation on the dock. Waterfront workers are now calling for the robots to be given the Patrick drug and alcohol test. However, the Maritime Union's South Queensland Deputy Branch Secretary, Trevor Munday says their biggest shortcoming is productivity. The robots are averaging about 70 movements a shift compared to their human counterparts who do between 200 and 240 per shift.

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