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Issue No. 133 26 April 2002  

The Struggle Continues
While the romantic image of May Day may be one of international struggle to establish a workers paradise, the reality is far more pragmatic and practical.


Interview: If The Commission Pleases
President Lance Wright marks the NSW Industrial Relations Commission's centenary with an exclusive interview with Workers Online.

History: Protest and Celebrate
Neale Towart scours the globe to discover the spirit of May Day online � the celebration of the eight-hour day.

Unions: A Novel Approach
A union office has been transformed into a library thanks to efforts to provide books for children in detention centres, reports Jim Marr.

Industrial: Hare Tony, Hare Tony
Close your eyes and the Mad Monk sounds like a Hare Krishna, but increasingly the world is tuning out from his mantra about IR reform, writes Noel Hester.

International: Never Forget Jenin
Trade unionist Sari Kassis argues the word 'Jenin' now defines Palestinian demands for justice.

Politics: Left Right Out In France
The results of the first round vote for the French presidency have led to mass protests and calls for national unity, Paul Howes reports.

Health: Delivering A Public Health Revolution
Zoe Reynolds travelled to Cuba to discover how Australians are backing a ground-breaking child health project.

Review: The Secret Life of U(nion)s
Tara de Boehmler stumbles upon a juicy trade union sub-plot in the popular GenX TV drama.

Poetry: May Day, May Day
Rapper Swarmy G is one of the finalists in our workers anthem comp with this ode to May Day.


 Shonky Bosses Get Contract Brush

 Kirby Bouquet for Equal Pay

 Deep Pocket Syndrome Stalks IRC

 Court Decision Threatens Thousands Of Jobs

 Safety Summit to Set Accident Targets

 Detention Centre Vets Song Lyrics

 Fat Sheep Dip Into Workers Pockets

 Government Con Drives SA Vehicle Blue

 Dead Worker�s Family Calls for Safety Crime Laws

 Netball Mum Bounces Back

 Aussie Agency Backs War Crimes Call

 Thumbs-up For Union Immigration Role

 May Day Rundown

 DOCS Worker Assaulted In Courthouse

 Queensland Unions Move on Youth Exploitation

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
A Humane Under-Belly
Presenting the annual Kingsley Laffer Lecture, Justice Michael Kirby argues that international human rights underpin Australian industrial law.

The Locker Room
The Hidden Culture of Indigenous Football
Brian McCoy argues that indigenous footballers do not just bring thier skills to the game, they bring their culture as well.

Of Shares and Options
It was a week when Rio Tinto faced its shareholders, Ford faced a backlash and a bid to cap US executive salaries failed.

Week in Review
The ANZAC Spirit?
Jim Marr wonders what the ANZACs would have said about our current treatment of the homeless and needy.

 French Connection
 Gold Star Student
 Time for a General Strike?
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Court Decision Threatens Thousands Of Jobs

The Maritime Union of Australia is seeking international support in a bid to save thousands of jobs jeopardised by today�s Federal Court green-light for foreign crews.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin is addressing the International Transport Workers Federation executive in London where he will seek backing for the MUA position on flags of convenience.

"We are considering all our options, legal and international," assistant secretary Mick Doleman responded to the Federal Court's rejection of an application which would have prevented CSL selling the Yarra and bringing it back to Australia with a foreign flag and crew.

The union sought its application under freedom of association provisions of the Workplace Relations Act, arguing Australian workers were being sacked because of MUA membership.

Federal Court judge Catherine Branson ruled that union membership was not the reason for CSL's conduct.

"It's outrageous for the Federal Government to openly encourage foreign shipowners to harm this country's workers, industry and economy," Doleman said.

"This Government wants to turn the Australian shipping industry into a sweatshop. It is forcing Australians to compete against the cheapest labour available in the world."

Federal Transport Minister John Anderson has to permit foreign flagged vessels to work the Australian coast. Since he became minister he has overseen a tripling of ships using foreign crews on Australian routes.

Unions have raised environmental and security concerns about the practise, as well as their core wage and conditions objections.

Flags of convenience countries run regimes similar to Swiss banking, seducing dubious owners with secrecy guarantees that are hard for international law agencies to crack.

Only about 45 Australian flagged and crewed vessels remain in business.

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet says the decision demonstrates that current laws are inadequate to protect Australian jobs and prevent Australian workers from being replaced by foreigners on lower wages and conditions.

"The Federal Government could fix this problem with the stroke of a pen. If John Howard is serious about protecting Australia's borders, then he should act now to save Australian jobs," Combet says.

"These ships destroy Australian jobs and don't pay Australian taxes. Ships doing the right thing and operating with Australian crews under the Australian flag simply can't compete."


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