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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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Government Con Drives SA Vehicle Blue

Federal Government�s bid to shortchange workers on entitlements is driving the South Australian vehicle manufacturing dispute.

Three hundred and fifty workers at Walkers Australia voted to stay out this week, threatening production at Mitsubishi and Holden manufacturing plants around the country.

Workers at Tenneco's Walker operation are angry that their employer is refusing to honour an agreement to establish a trust fund to protect their long service entitlements.

The company is hiding behind Government's General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy scheme, established last year, arguing its provisions release it from honouring obligations it singed up to in the existing enterprise agreement.

But the federal compensation scheme is full of holes as Ansett workers will attest. By Government's own figures, released in Parliament, Ansett workers, alone, have already been shortchanged $187 million on their entitlements and that figure is rising.

Workers are missing out because Government has capped its liability. It's latest statistics reveal that 29 percent of money owed is leaching away under that provision.

Now Walkers are using a scheme that deprives employees of 29 percent of their entitlements to try and defeat an obligation to ensure the safety of all money owed.

Government describes it's scheme as a "safety net" but some employers are choosing to view it as a taxpayer-funded guarantee.

The Federal Labor Party has picked up on the injustice with Workplace Relations spokesman, Robert McClelland, refloating a national insurance plan, under which Government and big employers would share the cost of securing entitlements.

"It is time for Government to admit its taxpayer-funded scheme is not the answer," McClelland said.

Labor's proposal would cover 100 percent of entitlements and prevent employers shifting the debt for money they owe onto the taxpayer.


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