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Issue No. 156 11 October 2002  

Work and the Meaning of Life
The high-profile case of Kamal El-Masiri takes the debate over the intersection of work and family onto an altogether higher plane.


Interview: The Wet One
NSW Opposition industrial relations spokesman Michael Gallacher stakes out his relationship with the union movement.

Bad Boss: Like A Bastard
Virgin Mobile is sexy and funky, right? Well, only if those terms have become synonyms for dictatorial or downright mean.

Unions: Demolition Derby
Tony Abbott likens industrial relations to warfare and, like a good general should, he is about to shift his point of attack � from building sites to car plants, reports Jim Marr.

Corporate: The Bush Doctrine
For the powerful, consumerism equals freedom, and is all the freedom we need, writes James Goodman

Politics: American Jihad
Let�s get real. The origins of modern Islamic terrorist groups are in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Langley, Virginia not Baghdad, argues Noel Hester.

Health: Secret Country
Oral history recordings are an inadequate tool in trying to find out what happened to Aboriginal stockmen and their communities on cattle stations in Northern Australia, writes Neale Towart

Review: Walking On Water
On the 20th anniversary of the first AIDS-related death, Tara de Boehmler witnesses the aftermath of losing a loved one to the illness in Walking On Water.

Culture: TCF
Novelist Anthony Macris captures life on the shop floor in this extract from his upcoming novel, Capital Volume II

Poetry: The UQ Stonewall
The University of Queensland has sought to join the ranks of union-busting companies like Rio Tinto in trying to sack the president of the local union - and made the mistake of thinking they were dealing with an array of acquiescent academics.


 Muslims Snubbed in Discrimination Laws

 Workplace Racism Rife Post S11

 Mad Monk�s World In Turmoil

 Qantas Directors Bust Wages Freeze

 Deregistration on Cole Agenda

 Aussie Wharfies Save Farmers

 Victorian Libs Block Pay Rise

 Dad�s the Word For Steelworkers

 Funeral Workers Dig in Their Heels

 Unions Expose Truth Of McDonalds� People Promise

 Gay and Lesbians Workers To Meet

 VTHC Urges Compassion For Colombian Refugees

 New Zealand Workers Win Paid Parental Leave

 WorkCover Inspectors Off the Road

 Mine Guards Shoot Own Workers

 Unions On Call For Working Young

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
I Walk The Line
American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has weighed into the Hilton Hotel dispute with this special message to the workforce.

Mekong Daze
Union Aid Abroad's Phil Hazelton fires off a missive from Laos where he is spending a year working with the community.

Month In Review
Bush Whackers
It was a month where the world teetered on the brink of peace, no thanks to the leader of the free world, writes Jim Marr

The Locker Room
The Laws Of Gravity
Phil Doyle goes looking for the fine line that separates sport from an exercise in time-wasting

Snouts in the Trough
It�s AGM season in the corporate world, and deal after shady deal is being exposed as highfliers treat company accounts like the proverbial honey-pot.

Songs of Solidarity
There has been a proud history of pro-worker tunes dating back to the early days of the 20th century, which will be continued in a new CD, writes Dan Buhagiar.

 Who Is Farmhand?
 Direct Voting Rights
 Iraq is a Gobalisation Issue Too
 Letter to George Dubya
 WTO and Schools
 Casual Thought
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Qantas Directors Bust Wages Freeze

Worker representatives will attempt to bloc a massive 36 per cent pay rise for Qantas executives at the airline�s upcoming Annual General Meeting next week.

Qantas unions are encouraging workers with Qantas shares to give them proxies to add weight to their push to block the increases, sought against the backdrop of last year�s wage freeze.

The resolutions will be put to the Qantas AGM next Thursday seeking to lift non-executive director's fees from $1.1 million to $1.6 million.

The Labor Council of NSW has called on union members with Qantas shares to forward their proxies to the Australian Services Union (ASU) or the Flight Attendants Association of Australia (FAAA) who will be opposing the increase at the AGM.

The rise comes at a time when Qantas shares have dropped significantly, despite their dominance of the Australian airline market.

"The Federal Government is saying that self-discipline is required. This government is unable or unwilling to legislate," says NSW Labor Council Secretary John Robertson.

"The Government needs to legislate as boards are unable to control their greed and are out of touch with community expectations."

Cole's King Hit

Meanwhile, the Australian Workers Union's Bill Shorten has raised Qantas and other executive payments while in the witness box at the Cole Royal Commission into the Building Industry.

Shorten outlined some of the more outrageous bonus schemes, options and severance packages recently collected by executives. These include:

� Suncorp Metway chief executive Steve Jones collecting almost $30 million in salary and severance pay.

� BHP Billiton's former chief executive Paul Anderson leaving with an $18.3 million package.

� Westfield Holdings chief executive Frank Lowy collecting $11.9 million,

� Wesfarmers chief executive Michael Chaney getting $8 million in incentives and salary last year

� Commonwealth Bank chief David Murray receiving almost $7 million.

� $3.5 million payout to former Ansett chief Gary Toomey

"It is little wonder [Qantas director] Margaret Jackson and John Ralph prefer cosy self regulation of corporate salaries." says Shorten.

Blatant Hypocrisy

Shareholder activist Neal Woolrich pointed out the hypocricy of the Qantas move, coming as it does on the back of management's attempts to impose a wage freeze.

"Shareholders should ask the sort of questions that management might ask the rank and file employees who put in a pay claim," says Woolrich.

"Have the directors become a 36% more efficient group during the year? Has the job of directing the company become 36% more difficult during the year? Has the company expanded its activities to such an extent that the job of directing the company has become 36% more time-consuming? Is there a pressing need for 36% more talent in the pool of directors?"

"It just shows the contempt that they have for the process - it seems that all they consider it to be is a rubber-stamping job and therefore they don't have to put any effort into justifying their case."


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