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Issue No. 131 12 April 2002  

Cry Freedom
If there's a common thread running through this week's issue, it's the continuing crisis faced by workers around the globe confronting the practical reality of Free Trade.


Interview: Cross Wires
Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief Chris Warren surveys the fluid state of the Australian media.

International: Two Tribes
As the Middle East burns, Andrew Casey shines a light into one of the world's darkest corners.

Activists: Beneath the Veil
A young Afghani woman has travelled to Australia to put a human face on the suffering of her people - and her gender.

Unions: Terror Australis
When push comes to shove, it appears the Howard Government is more scared of the Maritime Union than Osama Bin Laden, Jim Marr reports.

History: A Labor Footnote To The Royal Funeral
Stephen Holt reports that an intriguing Australian connection has been overlooked amidst the supposedly blanket media coverage of the end of the Bowes Lyon era.

Economics: Private Affluence, Public Rip-Off
New Labour's enthusiasm for business is matched only by its lack of business sense, as the private finance fiasco shows.

Review: The Great Hall of the People
In an extract from the latest issue of Labor Essays, the ARM's Richard Fidler looks at the symbolism behind the Republican debate.

Poetry: Waiting for the Living Wage
The Living Wage Case was heard this week. The workers� voices in this poem have been adapted from the evidence presented by low wage earners to the living wage case.

Satire: Israel Recruits NAB To Close West Bank
Israeli security forces have successfully enlisted the expert help of the National Australia Bank to close down the West Bank.


 Baby Company Punts Netball Mum

 Dairy Workers Win Global Breakthrough

 Treasury Modelling Backs ACTU Claim

 Bank Nabs Huge Sales Targets

 Come Clean � Insurance Giants Challenged

 May Day Jam and Toast

 Job Security Win For Cabin Crew

 Workers Gear-up For Pollution Fight

 Shuffling The Deck On The Yarra

 New Push On Workplace Crime

 Super Child Care Win

 Doubts Over Ettalong Wharf Funding

 The Sane Monk Stands Down

 Fabians Debate Refugees

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Unions and the Web � Where to Now?
Peter Lewis argues the time has come to revisit how trade unions interact with workers and how the Web could be the catalyst for such a change.

The Locker Room
Free To Where?
Parents with kiddies who play a bit of sport will have noticed the escalating costs associated with their kids being involved in sport.

Week in Review
The Joys of the Chop
Workers come and workers go, right? Well, it�s the way of the world but while some get stiffed, others are stuffed with obscene amounts �

 Labor and Unions - What About the Workers?
 A Voice for the Shareholders
 Noses in the Trough
 Bugger Off
 Memo: Carmen Lawrence
 Police: Make the Boss a Woman
 Baby Faced Brogden
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Job Security Win For Cabin Crew

Qantas cabin crew have secured a freeze on extending the number of crew employed in overseas bases, as they move towards finalising their enterprise agreement.

After several months of negotiations Qantas agreed to cap the number of overseas-based crew, employed on inferior terms and conditions to those offered Australian workers

Extensions to Qantas bases in Thailand and New Zealand was a key area of concern for flight attendants in the negotiations.

Flight Attendants Association (International Division) secretary, Johanna Brem, said the 12 month freeze had halted the spread of overseas-based crew and enhanced job security for the local workforce.

Currently there are 320 flight attendants employed offshore. They earn between 25 percent (New Zealand) and 60 percent (Thailand) less than their Australian colleagues.

"We strongly believe that Qantas' brand is enhanced by having Australian-based crew employed under Australian conditions at the frontline," Brem said.

"We support Qantas' multicultural face but want those faces to be sourced from Australian shores.

"We are also working with Australian Airlines to commit to Australian cabin crew for the new venture. We believe that the issue will be fundamental to its success.

The Qantas EBA will be finalised this week and presented to staff for formal endorsement over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, company pledges on information sharing have won a qualified thumbs-up from the FAA.

"The more information filtering through to the workplace the better off we are all going to be," Brem says.

"The FAA is heartened by the company's commitment to greater communication but it is important to realise communication is a two-way street. It is also important that Qantas hears what we are saying."

Qantas' commitment to greater information sharing came at its regular six-month summit with unions.


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