“The new challenge for Humans is Leisure”
This charming, short, animated film provides us with a humourous insight into the progression of work and leisure time…it also won an Oscar!
Do you feel that you have a good balance between your work and leisure time?
Tags: asbestos, Bangladesh, Cargo Ships, documentary, health and safety, Human rights, Industry, Labour rights, minimun wage, Ocean Liners, Ship wreckers, toxic waste, Working rights
Have you ever thought about what happens to the great ships of our oceans? The huge cargo vessels and majestic oceans liners that float our oceans don’t last forever so what happens to them when their time travelling the seas comes to an end? Since the 1970’s the large majority of them are taken to a desolate beach near the city of Chittagong in Bangladesh. The young boys and men employed by these immense ship breaking yards work in obscenely dangerous conditions to break down these enormous vessels so that the metal can be recycled. Bangladesh does not produce it own iron ore therefore the metal from the ship yards is a huge asset for the country and much of the city’s infrastructure could not be possible without it.
However there is a great concern for the young boys and men who are working in what Charles Kernaghan – the Director of The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights – calls “the most dangerous job in the world”. In these Shipwrecking yards at least one man dies every 2 weeks as they are exposed to huge chunks of falling metal, gas explosions, toxic heavy metals and large quantities of asbestos with little to no safety gear to protect them. In the film footage from Channel 7 Sunday Nights program ‘The Ships Graveyard’ the extreme and shocking danger of their working conditions is presented. It is also exposed that the men who work hard for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week earn pittance for risking their life in this industry – less than 47c an hour. It seems obscene that the men are paid so little when each ship they deconstruct can be worth around $10 million.
It is particularly heart retching that this is a reality for working men in Bangladesh who deserve, as all people do, labour and working rights where their welfare and health is not at risk. The institute for Global Labour and Human Rights has been campaigning on behalf of the Bangladeshi people to improve their basic right to work in dignity, healthy and safe work places. However, with all problems there is no quick fix solution and the ship wreckers continue to work in horrific circumstances. I hope that men like Kernaghan and others will continue their campaigning for labour rights so that the ship breaking industry becomes regulated and that the worker’s basic human rights are fulfilled. Workers in third world countries are too often exploited in their workplace and fall victims of little or no labour rights, do you have any stories, documentaries or articles about working conditions you would like to share?
Tags: AustralianinternationalLabourFilmFestival, Europe, government, jobs, labour, Labour rights, Spain, unemployment, worker's rights, workers, Youth
Maintaining a stable work life balance is not an easy thing to do, too much work will run us down and rob us of quality time with loved ones and friends as well as a chance to rejuvenate. On the flip side countries all over the world are experiencing high unemployment rates. As a result willing and skilled workers are left out of pocket and in a state of uncertainty. Our right to work is important and working is a crucial aspect of our lives, providing us with an income and responsibilities. For European countries such as Spain where unemployment levels have ‘surged to a modern-day record of 26.02 percent in the final quarter of 2012’ (Aljazeera.com) and six million people searched in vain for work in a biting recession unemployment has become a grim reality. The impact has been acute for 16 to 24-year-olds, who saw the rate in the last quarter of 2012 surge to 55.13% from 52.34% in the previous three months (bbc.co.uk/news).
Finding a solution for high levels of unemployment is not an easy one for governments especially in a struggling economic environment. Spain’s economy sank into recession after its property crash left millions of low-skilled workers without a job, and general economic decline eroded business and consumer confidence (bbc.co.uk/news)
As a labour right improving unemployment rates should be a priority of governments and companies alike. What would you do if Australia was experiencing the same high levels of unemployment?
Tags: 8 hour day, ACTU, ailff, asbestos, asbestos in workplace, Austaralian cultural heritage, Australian International Labour Film Festival, australian society, bennie banton, CFMEU, community, documentary, Family, fight against, fight against asbestos, film festival, International labour film festival, labour, Labour History, mining workers, tony abbott, whydocumentaries, worker's rights, workers compensation, working, Working Class, working lives, workplace conditions
Unions have campaigned for many years about the dangers of asbestos and at the end of 2003 asbestos were banned from Australia workplaces. However, many lost their lives through their exposure of asbestos in the workplace and in 2004, tens of thousands of Australian unionist held rallies under the banner, Make James Hardie Pay.
Many labour unions were unsuccessful in fighting asbestos exposure issues five years ago but there has been a significant gain in fighting for compensation for workers who have become ill and are dying from mesothelioma and asbestosis. These illnesses can lead to some excruciating, nasty conditions resulting in death. Not to mention the pain families deal with watching loved ones fight for their rights in these painful circumstances.
The fight against asbestos has been a long and arduous battle, as Bernie Banton, has found. Bernie spent his last few days fighting for workers’ rights and fighting against the companies who used this deadly product in his workplace without telling his and his workmates of the long-term effects. However, they were greeted with cold hearts, as the Directors of James Hardie Industries, did not want to be held accountable for the serious problems they had caused. As well as, Tony Abbott, who was then Health Minister, and did not want sufferers to have access to medication that was subsidised. Tony Abbott even added insult to injury claiming “just because a person is sick doesn’t mean he is of pure of heart for all things”.
To watch the full video –>CLICK HERE
Bernie won, gaining compensation guarantees and access to subsidised medication. But the fight against asbestos continues in NSW, with NSW Attorney-General, Greg Smith. Greg Smith has decided that these poor asbestos victims and their families should receive no compensation at all if the sufferer dies before the compensation case is finalised in court (Wicks 2012). This causes the victims to spend their final months fighting in court and could be seen as a ploy to drag the proceedings out. This could be a selfish way for Smith to delay an outcome as long as possible to ensure the claim is not finalised before the victim dies, as the majority of mesothelioma sufferers die within 12 months of diagnosis.
Australia is leading the way in addressing the issues surrounding asbestos but workers continue to suffer in numbers, with more than 600 new mesothelioma cases diagnosed in Australia every year and that rate is still increasing with the number of deaths each year are still to peak (ACTU 2012). Fighting against major asbestos legislation is just one way local union as well as international unions can help asbestos victims and fight for worker’s rights.
Do you have a story about your stuggles for workers rights? What is your story?
Peter Wicks 2012, Independent Australia, ‘Asbestos Victims loses compensation in NSW’, May 15, accessed: 8 November, http://www.independentaustralia.net/2012/life/health/asbestos-victims-lose-compensation-in-nsw/
Australian Council of Trade Unions 2012,http://www.actu.org.au/Issues/Asbestos/default.aspx
Tags: 8 hour day, addiction to work, ailff, Austaralian cultural heritage, Australian International Labour Film Festival, australian society, community, digital stories, digital story, documentary, drama, Family, film festival, History, International labour film festival, labour, Labour History, mining workers, nature of work, production, worker's rights, working, Working Class, working lives
Present-day responses to the 8 hour day would be ‘We wish’ or ‘If only!’ People today seem time poor and stressed with figures showing that around 1.7 million Australians work 50 hours or more per week (ABS).HOWEVER, in the late 1950s, workers were required to work long hours each week, up to 10 to 12 hours a day in poor working conditions that were unregulated and their life suffered because of it. UNTIL, the 8 hour day movement changed their lives. The eight-hour day movement transformed working life allowing workers to achieve the work/life balance. Reducing hours of work, allowed workers to engage in life outside of work.
BUT, do we still have the 8 hour working day? Australia once recognised as the ‘working man’s paradise’ for its 8 hour day achievement has since changed. Australians work the longest hours in the world. The average Australian works around 1855 hours a year, compared to an international average of 1643 (Australian Institute, 2004). Today the 8 hour working day remind us of the accomplishments made by the unions on behalf of the workers and the idea of what we can achieve today.
“One of the great successes of the Australian working class demonstrating to Australian workers that it was possible for Australian workers to successfully organize and exercise significant control over working conditions and quality of life.” (ROWAN CAHILL)
Tags: 8 hour day, addiction to work, ailff, Austaralian cultural heritage, Australian International Labour Film Festival, australian society, community, documentary, film festival, International labour film festival, nature of work, perfectionist, Union History, whydocumentaries, work addiction, workaholic, worker's rights, working, Working Class, working lives
It has been called the “best dressed addiction”. Many would perceive workaholics as dedicated, hard workers but there is difference between hard work and workaholics. Hard workers generally have some balance in their lives, while they are at work they daydream about holidays. Workaholics are on the holidays thinking about work.
To someone who is a workaholic, there is no clear separation between personal time and work time. A workaholic can obsess over work while they are not at work.
Like any other addiction, work can have huge impacts on a person’s life. If you’re in a relationship with someone who works long hours, year after year and takes time off but instead of spending it with you or the family, is distracted thinking about work or stressing over work. Is that healthy?
Not to mention, the negative impact on the persons health. Workaholics put themselves under extreme amounts of stress that could lead to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure. Many workaholics work themselves to an early grave due to heart attack or stroke.
Work addiction is an attempt to control a situation that is uncontrollable… They try to gain perfection, when perfection is unattainable.
Interesting addiction isn’t it? Are you a Hard worker or a workaholic?
The work/life balance is something we all want but not many of us actually have. The more we work to achieve the best in life, the more it seems to becomes the only part of life at all. If we are not careful, work can come the formation of our existence.
Work/ life balance can be achieved when you do enough of the things that bring you joy, like time spent with family and friends. While a lot of us have the whole ‘work’ thing in check, we struggle or maybe even feel a bit selfish to take time out for the other things in life that we enjoy. The work/life balance is one that can drag us down if we don’t get the balance right.
Nigel Marsh, the author of Overworked and Underlaid and Fit, Fifty and Fired-Up, talks about the work/life balance on TED. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and work offering some advice to make it happen.
“There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.” – Nigel Marsh
Check out more on the link below…
Tags: ailff, Austaralian cultural heritage, Australian International Labour Film Festival, australian society, CFMEU, community, Gina Rinehart, job crisis, labour, mining workers, nature of work, Rinehart, we work to live, worker's rights, Working Class, working lives
You may have heard about Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart making calls for the minimum wage in Australia to be lowered and openly criticising Australia’s working class. Rinehart recently stated “If you’re jealous of those with more money… do something to make more money yourself – spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.” These words of wisdom come from someone who has never had to earn a living and are an insult to millions of working Australians who didn’t have the head start of inheriting a fortune from their father.
Rinehart insists that it is billionaires such as herself that are doing more than anyone to help the poor by investing their money and creating jobs, The Australian reports. This refers to her plans to import workers for the Roy Hill project. The Roy Hill project is an agreement which will employ up to 1715 foreign workers from the UK, Europe, India, China, South Korea and the Philippines during construction in Australia. BUT how can they import foreign workers without trying to address the manufacturing crisis in Australia where 130,000 people have lost their jobs since 2008?
Rinehart suggests the government lower the minimum wage and cut taxes to stimulate employment. These suggestions are merely an attack on the voices of ordinary people and an attack on their value as a worker. Rinehart, who has built a $20 billion-plus mining empire through inheritance, shows no respect for the values of fairness and equality on Australians and disrespects all those people who work for her.
Ask many Australians they probably already feel overworked, overstressed and struggle to find an enviable work-life balance. Rinehart believes that Australian’s should be all work and no play and insists we get out of the pub and work harder but her misguided thoughts are merely insulting the Australian way of life.
Find out a little more about the Rinehart–>Rinehart Story
Tags: 8 hour day, ailff, Austaralian cultural heritage, Australian International Labour Film Festival, child workers, community, digital story, documentary, drama, Family, film festival, heritage, History, International labour film festival, Labour History, nature of work, we work to live, worker's rights, Working Class, working lives
In the 1800′s children often had to work in dark, dirty and dangerous factories and mines. Children as young as 5 years old worked for up to 14 hours a day with only Sundays off. They were overworked, overtired and worked in conditions that were very poor with almost no pay.
These conditions continued over 40 years ago when children came from British families, who were struggling with severe poverty, were brought to Australia. These children were promised the hope of a new life in Australia ‘where the sun shines all the time and you can pick oranges off the tree for breakfast’. Their dreams were forgotten when they were placed in state institutions and orphanages. These children are seen as the ‘Forgotten Australians’ who were forced to work in brutal conditions, where they were physically and mentally abused.
Former Australian PM Kevin Rudd has acknowledged that ‘there are tens of thousands of these stories of children having to work in horrible working conditions and all these children united by an experience of a childhood without love, of a childhood alone’. These young boys now believe they were used as child labourers and forgotten without any opportunities to start a new life in Australia.
A first hand account of childhood labour <– Check out the video
These stories can make us look at our own generations. What stories would the new generations of children tell us about work?