||Issue No. 148||16 August 2002|
Interview: Labor Law
Unions: Critical Conditions
Bad Boss: Shifting The Load
History: Peeking Out
Safety: Flying High
Corporate: Salaries High, Performance Low
International: War on the US Wharves
Review: And the Signs Said...
Poetry: Tony Don't Preach
Satire: Latham Dumps Rodney Rude as Speech Writer
The Locker Room
Another Capitalist Party?
Justice For All?
Kill the Photos!
Right Wing Lackies
Rayland And Other Adventures
Williams' Generosity Knew No Bounds
Documents submitted to the HIH Royal Commission give an indication of the largesse of its CEO Ray Williams. Among a few of Ray's more notable snacks were: $2018 at Forty One ($600 tip), Nautilus Restaurant at Port Douglas $2462.50 ($700 tip) and $2197.50 at Pier Restaurant (tip $700). He was also a well-known benefactor, including Woollahra travel agents Traveltoo Pty Ltd received who a $6160 donation from HIH, according to the donor recipient lists for 2000. Ray's wife Rita was treated to six trips - the cost of $38,165 was paid with Ray's Amex card - between January and September 2000. But though the royal commission has uncovered the "Internal Audit Review of Executive Expenses" which details what living in Rayland was like, there were probably a few documents which it will never set eyes upon. Five shredding bins were ordered in November 2000.
WMC's Morgan Steps Aside
WMC has confirmed the early departure of chief executive Hugh Morgan, amid a disappointing first-half profit result, as pressure continues to mount on the company to call off its planned demerger. The driving force behind the HR Nicholls Society was forced to reassure investors after revealing that WMC also would make a large writedown on the value of its fertiliser business as part of the process of splitting its alumina and minerals divisions. The announcement of Moprgan's departure came as the company yesterday announced that its first-half profit before significant items fell to just $64 million from revenue of $1.19 billion for the six months to June 30, compared with $304 million for the same period a year ago.
Qantas Rebuffed on Foreign Buyers
The Federal Government has rejected Qantas's bid to ease restrictions on foreign ownership, in a move the airline says has more to do with the attempt to flog Telstra. With fears the rebuff puts in doubt $11 billion worth of possible capital expenditure by the airline, Qantas shares closed 12c weaker at $4.63 after the news. Transport Minister John Anderson, speaking after a Cabinet meeting in Cairns, said the arguments put forward by Qantas were neither "deep enough or strong enough" to warrant change "in the national interest". Under the Qantas Sale Act, foreign investors are limited to owning a total 49 per cent of the airline. Qantas chairman Margaret Jackson said the company was "extremely disappointed" with the decision, which she suggested was unfairly influenced by the political debate about the Government selling the remainder of its stake in Telstra.
WorldCom Uncovers a Further $6.2bn
WorldCom, which sought bankruptcy protection last month after disclosing that it had improperly accounted for $7.1 billion in expenses, has uncovered $6.2 billion in additional accounting irregularities stretching back to 1999. WorldCom said that the new irregularities would force revisions in its accounting for 2000, 2001 and the first quarter of this year. WorldCom also said that when the earnings were restated, it would most likely take a write-off of as much as $US50.6 billion related to the reduced value of past acquisitions. WorldCom said it had disclosed its new findings to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is conducting its own investigation of the company's accounting.
Source: New York Times
No Cash Shortage For Call Centre Bosses
Call centre managers' pay has jumped more than 20 per cent in the past year, the latest Hallis contact centre salary survey says. They receive salaries of up to $200,000, and multi-site managers get packages of up to $300,000. The managers appear better off than their counterparts in other industries who have been feeling the economic slowdown Call centre staff had considerably lower pay rises. The average salary increase for them was just 3.82 per cent. According to the latest survey, basic agent salaries were anywhere between $25,000 and $50,000.
?Abbey Says No To Control By NAB
National Australia Bank's merger talks with British bank Abbey National have reportedly broken down, leaving NAB considering whether to make a hostile $30 billion takeover bid. NAB's demands that the merged entity be based in Australia and that NAB senior executives occupy all major management positions led to Abbey National's withdrawal from negotiations, according to a UK report.
However, Abbey chairman Terence Burns and finance director Stephen Hester were open to reopening talks if NAB changed its aggressive stance .
Corporations Take Economic Cake: UN
Twenty-nine of the world's 100 biggest economic entities are trans national corporations, with the largest - ExxonMobil - coming in just ahead of the economy of Pakistan, according to a new United Nations ranking. The energy giant comes 45th on the list, two places ahead of General Motors, said the UN Conference on Trade and Development. Countries are ranked according to gross domestic product, while the corporations are ranked based on "value added" - the sum of pre-tax profits, salaries, amortisation and depreciation for the year 2000. Other corporations in the list include carmakers Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen, tobacco company Philip Morris, pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline and retailer Wal-Mart.
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