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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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Aussie Wharfies Save Farmers

The Maritime Union of Australia has stepped in to help local farmers by ensuring US waterside workers will offload Australian perishable cargo during any future port closures linked to the current waterfront dispute.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin brokered the deal as the Howard Government attempted to gain political capital from a solidarity visit by six MUA members in support of their US colleages.

US waterfront employers locked out over 10 000 workers in ports along the US West Coast this week bringing to a head a long-running contract dispute.

Prime Minister John Howard attempted to make political capital out of the dispute, misunderstanding the difference between a strike and a lockout and wrongly accusing the MUA of helping damage Australian exports.

"The Australian Meat Council said they've got 10,000 tonnes of meat at stake due to the current lockout," says MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin. "Well I've rung the union over there and they've said they'll work with the MUA to ensure Australian perishable cargoes can be unloaded during any future dispute. That's more of a contribution than John Howard has made to Australian trade."

Employer Aggro

In September US waterfront employers, represented by the Pacific Maritime Association, shut the gates on workers after job contract negotiations with the union broke down.

The workers, members of the ILWU, did not go on strike. They turned up for work anyway, announcing they would ensure all passenger ships, perishable and military cargoes were moved whether they were paid or not. In LA on the first day of the lockout 200 workers turned up at the gates, but where only allowed on the job after the local mayor intervened.

"So the PM is yet again right off the mark," says Crumlin. "He's got his facts back to front to score cheap political points. It's not the MUA or the ILWU who are damaging Australian exports; it's the employers' Pacific Maritime Association. Perhaps if the PM let us know what Australian cargo was affected, we could ask the ILWU to help us too."

The MUA has sent a delegation of rank and file workers to the US as part of an International Transport Workers' Federation initiative to encourage PMA ship-owners back to the bargaining table and to report first hand on the lockout. The MUA has not taken any industrial action, nor has the ILWU.

Truth Overboard

"It's employer intransigence which is to blame," says Crumlin. "The employers closed the gates and locked the workers out. The ILWU announced at the outset it would still work passenger, perishable and military cargo whether they were paid or not and that's what they did."

"Despite the Australian Prime Minister's attempts to do a 'children overboard' on the MUA by misrepresenting the facts, the union is still active in the US, abroad and at home working with the International Transport Workers' Federation and the Japanese unions to get a long term resolution to the dispute."

Meanwhile the ITF has called an emergency meeting of its Dockers section for October 15 to discuss the dispute. MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin will be attending the meeting, which is being held in ITF headquarters in London.


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