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Issue No. 167 21 February 2003  

Scales of Injustice
The Cole Royal Commission’s final report will be handed to the Howard Government this week, although its public release will be strategically delayed for maximum political capital.


Interview: Agenda 2003
ACTU secretary Greg Combet looks at the year ahead and how a union movement can keep the focus on the workplace at a time of global crisis.

Peace: The Colour Purple
Local communities across Australia are taking stands against war by displaying purple banners. Jim Marr visits one.

Industrial: Long, Hot Summer
As Workers Online took its annual break, the world kept turning – at an increasingly alarming velocity.

Solidarity: Workers Against War
Joann Wypijewski reports on how union locals in the USA are fighting the hounds of war at home.

Security: Howard And The Hoodlums
With all the talk of terror, the Howard Government’s Achilles heel is its tolerance of Flags of Convenience shipping , writes Rowan Cahill

International: Industrial Warfare
Scottish freight train drivers have already acted to disrupt the war effort in the UK with crews of four freight trains carrying war supplies to ports walking off the job, writes Andrew Casey

History: Unions and the Vietnam War
The Vietnam experience steered some unions towards social activism for the first time. Unions are today key players in the anti-war movement, writes Tony Duras.

Review: Eight Miles to Mowtown
Mark Hebblewhites looks at two summer movies that tap into different sounds of American culture - white boy rap and motown blues.

Poetry: Return To Sender
Resident bard Divd Peetz discovers that Elvis has become the latest shock recruit to the peace cause.

Satire: CIA Recruits New Intake of Future Enemies
CIA Director George Tenet announced today that the agency has begun recruiting future enemies for the year 2014.


 Cole Commission: The Rort Goes On

 Penalty Rates Under Attack

 Abbott Brushes Ripped Off Aussies

 Overworked Seaman’s Painful Hangover

 Australia Snubs International Body

 Women Attracted to Unions

 Murdoch Hacks Dropping Like Flies

 Peace is Union Business

 Qantas Takes Big Stick to Cabin Crew

 Sheltered Workshop in Orange Squeeze

 Carr Govt Commits $13m To Safety

 Monk Puts IR in Test Tube

 Concreters Bury Six-Day Week

 Graincorp Boss in Cyber War

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Getting On with The Job
Premier Bob Carr chose Trades Hall as the venue to launch Labor's IR policy for the upcoming state election.

Justice in Bogota
Sydney lawyer Ian Latham knows how to pick them. He’s gone straight from the Cole Royal Commission to justice Colombian-style.

The Locker Room
Heart Of Darkness
There is a school of thought that there is, in fact, only one World Cup - and it doesn’t involve cricket, writes Phil Doyle.

Danger Mouse
John Howard's politics have trapped him into supporting an unpopular war. He is in political trouble, Leonie Bronstein argues.

 This Means War
 Who Let The Troops Out?
 Wagga Wagga Calling
 Ode to Johnny
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Overworked Seaman’s Painful Hangover

An overworked crew member was so fatigued he might as well have been drunk when a “guest worker” was seriously injured on Ship of Shame, the CSL Pacific, an official investigation has found.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Marine Safety Investigation report, blamed chronic fatigue and systems failure for an accident that left a Ukranian seaman in hospital with a fractured pelvis, broken vertebra and ribs, a dislocated hip and groin damage, after being trapped in moving equipment, off Melbourne, on February 18.

The accident report described the workload of the mate and deck mechanic on the Bahamas-flagged ship as "excessive", saying records revealed the mate had done 17 and 18 hour days while the vessel was in port and had been on duty for 80 hours over the five days preceding the accident.

Software developed in conjunction with the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia suggested the mate's "fatigue rating" was equal to that of someone with blood alcohol levels above 0.05 percent.

The report, released this week, found a "significant failure of the safety management system" on a vessel that has been at the centre of a high-profile dispute between maritime unions, the federal government and CSL.

In a rebuff to Flag of Convenience shipping, it contrasted those conditions with the vessel's safety system and record while it was Australian flagged and crewed.

"Put simply, when things went haywire, the crew might as well have been drunk," MUA national secretary, Paddy Crumlin, said. "Fundamental safe work practices, like shutting down equipment and locking controls before sending in a worker to weld, were ignored.

"Even more outrageous is that, after the accident, the Government failed to cancel the vessel's permit to trade on our coast in contravention of its own guidelines."

CSL provoked a storm of protest when it reflagged the former Australian National Line vessel in 2000 then replaced its crew with lower-paid Ukranians.

The Pacific works the Australian coast, outside the reach of Australian labour and commercial regulations, under a special permit issued by Transport Minister John Anderson.

The ship was diverted to Portland, last month, after workmates heard the injured crewman screaming in pain and freed him from mechanical equipment.


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