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Issue No. 147 09 August 2002  

A Call to Action
While there has been a lot of angst, anger and no shortage of tub-thumping over Simon Crean's push to cut union influence in the ALP, the end result of the Hawke-Wran review is that it is a call to action for unions to reclaim their party.


Interview: Save Our Souls
Labor's superannuation spokesman Nick Sherry expands on his recent discussion paper into the industry.

Unions: Rats With Wings
As the Cole Commission continues to sidestep safety, another Sydney building accident puts workers at risk this week, Jim Marr reports

Bad Boss: If The Boot Fits
Royal Commission favourite and S & B Industries top dog, Barbara Strong, carts off this week�s Bad Boss nomination.

History: Political Bower Birds
Rowan Cahill looks at a new resource detailing the fading history of the Communist Party of Australia

International: No More Business as Usual
Global unions are stepping up their campaign against corporate rip-offs

Corporate: The Seven Deadly Sins of Capitalism
Shann Turnbull outlines a new set of rules that should govern capital in the post-Enron environment

Industrial: Stiffed!
A backyard horror story has left funeral workers worrying about mooted changes to industry regulations, Jim Marr reports

Review: Prepare To Bend
If it�s a feel good flick that you want, Bend It Like Beckham is sure to satisfy on every level, writes Tara de Boehmler

Satire: Bush Boosts Sharemarket Confidence: Shares his Cocaine Stash
President Bush has rushed to re-establish confidence in the US market by distributing cocaine from his own Presidential stash to Wall Street.


 Mainstream Media Vacates IR

 Ten Click Walker 'Unfit for Work'

 Unions Push for Baby Nest

 Casino Workers Overtime Jackpot

 Abbott�s Task Force �Rank Hypocrisy�

 Shipping Policy Blamed for Reef Damage

 Dropping The Ball On Training

 Combet Pushes Consultative Vehicle

 Maternity Leave for Pacific Workers

 Hit List of Forced Closures

 Magistrate Endorses Health and Safety Rights

 Contracts a Thorn in Workers' Side

 Fringe Success for Workers� Pick

 Activists Notebook


Workers on Film
Last issue we asked you for your ideas on a union film script to match Ken Loach's The Navigators. Here are the best responses.

The Soapbox
Driving Together
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet argues that the Australian car industry needs a partnership between business and labour.

The Locker Room
Dogs And Underdogs
Phil Doyle explains why losers are half the equation in each and every sporting contest

Week in Review
Filfthy Rich and Claptrap
While Labor and the Democrats are tearing themselves to shreds, Little Lachie and Rich Ray address the main game �

Muddy Waters
It was a week when the Prime Minister washed his hands despite mounting evidence that the corporate world is out of control.

 Fraser No Workers' Hero
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Unions Push for Baby Nest

A scheme set up to protect workers entitlements should become the vehicle for supplementing maternity leave payments, unions have told a Senate inquiry.

Under the proposal, employers would pay a top up levy into the National Entitlement Security Trust (NEST) to allow women to access 14 weeks leave at full pay when they have a child.

Unions are arguing strongly that the 14 weeks at full pay should be the standard for universal maternity leave, which would cost employers less than $1 per week per worker.

The Senate Inquiry into Paid Maternity Leave is being held as the Howard Government leaves open the option of some form of universal taxpayer funded scheme of a more modest duration.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union argues that to reach the international standard of 14 weeks a combination of taxpayer funded safety net and an employer-funded top-up is required.

That money could be held in either a government pool such as the Australian Tax Office, or preferably a scheme such as NEST - jointly administered by employer and employee representatives.

The Umbrella Trust

The bid to handle top-up maternity leave payments is part of NEST's transition from the nation's first industry specific entitlements fund (previously known as Manusafe) into an all-purpose entitlements trust.

NEST is also moving to establish sector or industry based schemes that would manage portable long service leave entitlements for the millions of Australian workers who will never hold the same job for ten years.

NEST CEO Andrew Whiley says one aim is to create a one-stop shop for entitlements that workers could draw upon throughout their working life - be it to take time off for training, long service leave or when they were retrenched.

NEST is run as a non-profit organisation with investment returns going back to employers to assist schemes to reach self funding. Its board has recently welcomed its first employer representative to complement the current trade union nominees, with negotiations with other employer representatives well advanced.

"For millions of workers the absence of traditional entitlements like long service leave and are an emerging industrial issue," Whiley says. "The old notions of one or two jobs in a lifetime are gone, and the traditional way many workers accrued entitlements from extended service with a single employer has gone with it."

" All the flexibility seems to be one side of the employment equation, with many workers having to be more mobile whether they like it or not. It's time to have some flexibility on the other side, so that workers can accrue and carry leave with them from job to job.

"I see NEST as providing unions with the basic infrastructure to underpin various campaigns and initiatives - especially in industries with high levels of labour mobility, multiple employers and broken work patterns. With a credible and effective trust fund now in existence workers will have extra ammunition in the growing push for recognition of service to an industry and portability of their entitlements."

NEST is targeting traditional blue-collar workers as well as workers in the burgeoning casual sectors such as labour hire child-care, education, hospitality and the media.

"We remain a solution for protecting workers entitlements; but we offer a generic vehicle for the labor movement to access when grappling with the reality of employment patterns facing more and more Australian workers. Baby NEST is yet another example how a generic trust can be adapted to meet differing needs of Australian workers.

NEST will officially unveil a new board - including a high profile chairman - later in the year.


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