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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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The Sane Monk Stands Down

Relationships between the British Labour Government and the trade union movement are predicted to get worse with the general secretary of the TUC, John Monks, announcing that he is standing down after nearly ten years in the position.

Monks, a union moderate who was seen to be close to Tony Blair, is being touted as the next leader of the European Trade Union Confederation.

While John Monks has been close to the British PM in recent months the two of them have fallen out.

In recent weeks Monks has attacked Blair for being 'bloody stupid' in allying himself to right-wing political leaders in Europe, such as Italy's Silvio Berlusconit.

And as TUC head he has reflected the anger of his affiliates and their rank-and-file as he openly talked about the "haemorrhaging" in support for Labour among union membership.

Many in the union movement believe Blair's Labour Government has not been worker-friendly and they expect the next TUC leader to take a more aggressive role over the union relationship with the government.

While Monks' deputy general secretary, Brendan Barber, is being touted to take over at the TUC some feel that he may be defeated by his 'moderate' image if a more radical candidate puts their name forward to contest the position.

Soon after Monks became TUC general secretary he visited Australia and met with the ACTU and the ALP - because in the early 90s the Accord was still being touted as a model for union movements around the world.

During his tenure John Monks enjoyed his reputation as a moderate and a moderniser who managed to stem a decline in membership and to work in greater partnership with companies and the government

John Monks became general secretary of the TUC in 1993, after being deputy general secretary since 1987.

At about the same time Tony Blair was becoming a potent force in the Labour party - and thw two men formed an alliance as the new, young, dynamic modernizers.

By persuading the unions to keep a low profile during the 1997 general election - and avoiding any potential embarrassment - John Monks is credited with helping Tony Blair's Labour party come to power.


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