Tuesday, August 5, 2003

QANTAS drug testing: Pooping on people?

People are in different classes. What class are you in?

Some people struggle more than others do in order to survive. People take drugs to get through their life. Whether it's illegal or not has no bearing on what an employee can do for you as an employer.

Does your employee criticise you for cutting a corner in order for you his employer to make a profit?

In the gamble of life you take the good with the bad and the results can easily be seen. If there are no results then your employer will go broke. Based on your work performance your employer can sack you or keep you on depending on what you can do for the company. You can tell nine times out of ten if your employee is drunk on the job. Or stoned out of his/her mind and won't perform.

So what is the problem? Police, politicians, workers, and bosses are all stressed at some point. Better to admit what is real and call a spade a spade and let people get on with the job.

Zero tolerance is a contradiction within itself because a human being is not infallible and therefore a human being can only do their best.

Do not judge what a person has to do in order to survive.

Ageing causes people to respond. You're on a rock face in reality. Wind, rain, sun and waves crashing around you breaking you down slowly. Even the air you breathe is eating your internal organs away. Humanity accuses people of judging others so who are you to be the judge?

Employers have been accused of jumping the gun by introducing drug and alcohol testing programs while neglecting other issues that could impair a worker's performance, such as fatigue.

Fatigue may be correct but this statement indirectly attempts to cover up the reality of employers who may take drugs. People don't want to be seen as having to depend on drugs for medicinal purposes.

What about the employers own performance excuse me? Do the employers who wish to introduce this testing intend to test themselves first to see whether they're qualified to judge their employees?

If you want to introduce drug testing it has to be across the board starting from the top Prime Minister down. In that order because the ministers are leading us by example. Then there would be a need to go into the High Court of Australia and the bureaucracy, on to police and medical and then trickling down to the common class of workers.

If you're not prepared to have this type of reform then who are you 'Qantas' to be the Judge?

A drug testing specialist, Judith Perl, a forensic pharmacologist with NSW Police, said she expected many employers to follow companies such as Qantas in introducing schemes in an effort to meet obligations under occupational health and safety laws.

Is this Qantas or John Howard?

Qantas plans to trial random drug and alcohol testing in Sydney later this month, but is facing strong union criticism about the potential for discrimination and privacy breaches.

Dr Perl said occupational health and safety changes were putting company bosses in a position to ensure that there was a safe working environment.

"They are all jumping the gun and saying, 'Well, let's drug test'," Dr Perl said.

"They will be thinking if they are seen as doing something, that makes for a safe environment. But they neglect things that are in the too-hard basket, like fatigue."

Over the next three days Qantas employees will attend briefings by union officials about random urine- and breath-testing.

Qantas expects to test about 5 per cent of its 35,000-strong workforce each year once the program is fully operational.

Ten unions are involved in the campaign against the program. They say they do not oppose drug and alcohol testing to prevent and determine impairment, but they are concerned that the trial will force workers to reveal use of prescription medicines or over-the-counter drugs.

The assistant national secretary of the Australian Services Union, Linda White, said the tests would pick up whether workers took HIV or IVF medication or Viagra.

"People don't think that that's any business of their employer," Ms White said. "People are concerned that there's a privacy issue."

But a spokesman for Qantas, Michael Sharp, said it would not test for HIV and IVF medication or Viagra. It was only interested in three types of drugs depressants, stimulants and hallucinogens - and thresholds (such as a 0.02 blood-alcohol level) would apply.

He said the program emphasised education and rehabilitation, with staff testing positive to undergo counselling and return a negative test before they returned to work.

"We respect all employees rights to privacy the focus of it always has been our commitment to safety on the ground and in the air," Mr Sharp said.

By Medicinal Purposes Workplace Reporter 5 August 03

THE BIRD: Why did you take that drug? Because it was there and because it relieved my tension. Some people take to the bottle to find solace because it removes tension. Tension that could otherwise cause a company to go broke. We respect all employers right to privacy as long as the drug testing starts with the employers CEO's and is not discriminatory in that Prime Minister John Howard is tested as well as everybody else. Otherwise you could be judging others without judging yourself.

That's not fair. Your have an expectation about what others should do but not what you have done yourself. How do you rate?


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