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Issue No. 150 30 August 2002  

Shut It Down!
The CFMEU�s legal bid to have the Cole Royal Commission closed down seeks to prove legally what any dispassionate observer has worked out for themselves: the whole show is biased.


Interview: Australian Worker
AWU national secretary Bill Shorten gives his take on the relationship between the wings of the movement

Unions: Morning Ambush
Rowan Cahill joined the Dayson workers as they took their fourteen week dispute to the doors of an American corproate giant

Cole-Watch: Grumpy Old Men
When the Cole Commission declared closed its second innings in Sydney last night, lasting memories centred around the hands played by two grumpy old men, Jim Marr reports.

International: Arrested (Sustainable) Development
Unions fronting up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development are making clear their views that development can never be considered sustainable unless social justice is made a top priority, reports Tara de Boehmler.

History: Illegal Alien
As we remember the shameful way we turned away a group of people escaping the horrors of a dictatorial regime, the treatment of Egon Kisch by the UAP Government in 1935 highlights yet another.

Economics: The Trouble With PPPs
The Uni of NSW's Christopher Shiel explains why the state's current flirtation with Public Private Partnerships is an ongoing joke

Poetry: Is This 'My Country'?
On the anniversary of the Tampa, and with the help of Dorothea Mackellar and Peter Dodds McCormick, Worker's Online travels back a year to contemplate those moments when eyes were closed to the nature of the Taliban regime.

Review: Garage Days
Mark Hebblewhite reviews a new Aussie flick that brings the indie music scene to the big screen


 Bias Case Clears First Hurdle

 Eight Weeks Only for Bomb Survivors

 Justice At Last for Woodlawn Miners

 Labor for Refugees Put Acid on Crean

 Canberra Cash Linked to Hall of Fame Stoush

 Osama Poster Sparks Controversy

 Underwear Obsession Prompts Rehab List

 Community Workers Win Lifeline

 Mad Monk Staff in 'Mad Hatter' Protest

 Qld Health Win Pay Rise

 Education Forum To Spark Public Debate

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
Is Simon the Likeable?
The United Firefighter's Daryl Snow is back to give the ALP and political leaders in general an almighty hosing down

The Locker Room
A Modest Proposal
This NRL salary cap has come in for some debate recently, with many following the lead set by the Murdoch Media and calling for administrators of the game to throw the baby out with the bathwater, writes Phil Doyle.

Week in Review
World Domination
They�re right funny critters those Yanks who get their hands on the levers of power and we�re not talking, funny ha ha, here, Jim Marr writes�

The Costello Two-Step
Treasurer Peter Costello's two faces were on display this week - ducking and weaving from enforcing corporate accounting standards while upping the push to cut corporate tax

Always Listen To The Wind
Bernadette Moloney & John Hartley report from a conference aimed at getting reconciliation right

 Tony Moore is a Four Letter Word
 Choral Classics
 Sleeping Giants
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Eight Weeks Only for Bomb Survivors

Hotel workers who were working at the Sydney Hilton as far back as the 1978 bomb blast will be thrown out of work with just eight weeks redundancy pay.

The plight of the veteran hotel workers, among 267 sacked this week, comes as the ACTU launches a test case for a new redundancy standard for the entire workforce.

Hilton hotel management announced the sackings to a shocked workforce - many of whom face unemployment after 20 years service to the company. Casual employees will get no redundancy pay.

The Sydney Hilton will close for at least 18 months on November 29, with over $200 million budgeted for extensive renovations.

Wiwoho Sosrohardjono, a steward with 26 years service, says staff had cried this morning when told they would be terminated in November.

"I'm very upset. This is my second family, my second home," Wiwoho says. "I have two children and a mortgage. I don't know what I will do now."

LHMU delegate and housekeeper Patrick Holmes, who has worked at the Sydney Hilton for 12 years, gave the five-star hotel "no stars" for the treatment of employees.

"Management will continue to live well while we are out on the streets," said Patrick. "Many casuals have worked more than 30 hours per week for 10 years or more. They are to be left destitute."

The LHMU has won the support of the NSW Labor Council for a major campaign in defence of the Sydney Hilton workers redundancy rights.

Hilton Boss Squirms in Spotlight

The Hilton Hotel's top man in Australia, Oded Lifschitz, was squirming in his seat as he tried to avoid telling the Sydney media how much he would get paid in a golden handshake if his employer retrenched him.

Lifschitz went red and squirmed with embarrassment trying to avoid telling the world why he was to be treated so differently from the hundreds of low-waged workers employed by his flagship hotel in Australia.

Finally - after some hesitation - Mr Lifschitz avoided answering simply by saying "oh, he was not covered by the Award".

New Redundancy Standard

Meanwhile, the ACTUI has detailed its claim for universal redundancy rights through a federal Test Case to be heard by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission later this year.

Under the claim the minimum entitlement for employees made redundant after six or more years of service would be doubled from eight weeks severance pay to 16 weeks, with workers aged over 45-years-old to receive 20 weeks pay.

It would be the first time redundancy entitlements have been extended to long-term casuals (with more than 12 months service) and require managers to consult employees about job losses.

"Corporate failures and cutbacks have made 600,000 people redundant in the last few years," SACTU president Sharan Burrow says.

"One-quarter of them - 150,000 employees - received less than one-day's notice that they're losing their job. Many employees hear it first on the radio or in the newspaper that they're about to lose their livelihoods."

Burrow says the current eight-week cap on severance pay is inadequate when the average period of unemployment after redundancy is 22 weeks, and more than one-fifth of employees made redundant in the last few years lost their jobs after more than 10 years of service.

"It is unfair that 60% of casual employees, or about 1.2 million people, have worked in the same job for more than 12 months but have no redundancy entitlements," Burrow says.

"Extra help is needed for employees aged over 45 who face being unemployed for more than twice as long as younger workers, or 96 weeks of unemployment on average.


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