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Issue No. 168 28 February 2003  

Abbott�s Rules
Tony Abbott is at it again, with a wicked plan to cut research funding to universities that do not put their workers onto individual contracts.


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.


 Report Derails Freight Plans

 Journo Embarrasses Cole

 CASA a Safety Threat

 Howard Shafts Battlers

 Sparks Fly at Sydney Uni

 Unions Target March 14 For Peace

 Tongans Play Shame Game

 Palestinians Question ICFTU

 Neanderthals Roll Back Safeguards

 Keep Vultures out of Culture

 Bloody Noses for Sticky Beaks

 Warning As Barrier Council Turns 80

 Faint Praise for Labor Education Stand

 Staff Bogged Down

 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.

 Johnny Goes Marching Off
 Misled Artist
 Penalty Shoot-Out
 More Talk Needed on War
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Palestinians Question ICFTU

Arab delegates registered their disapproval at the Iraq resolution resolution adopted by last week�s otherwise-successful ICFTU women�s conference in Melbourne.

Palestinian spokeswoman, Abla Masrujeh, told Workers Online why she and delegates from Morocco, Tunisia and Lebanon felt compelled to write a letter to organisers outlining their concerns.

Two issues grated with the letter writers - the refusal of organisers to oppose war in the event of UN sanction, and their unwillingness to describe the Palestinian situation as an "occupation".

"We are opposed to war, fullstop, in these circumstances," Masrujeh explained. "If the UN gives its assent it will be because it is dominated and controlled by the United States.

"We know about weapons of mass destruction because the Israelis have already used chemical weapons against our people.

"Unfortunately, the organisers would not allow a vote on their draft resolution, despite our concerns."

Masrujeh said it was because Palestinians lived under "occupation", that Israel had had been able to stop her colleague, Anan Qadri, a Public Service International executive member, attending the Melbourne conference.

Much of the work of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, for whom she is Women's co-ordinator, reflects the reality of occupation.

From 87,000 paid-up members two years ago it is now, predominantly, an unemployed organisation.

Israeli moves to seal off the West Bank and Gaza Strip, along with numerous towns and settlements, meant thousands could go no longer get to work. Even when Palestinians live next to their place of employment, enterprises no longer able to trade with the outside world, had been shut down.

According to the UN, unemployment in the Palestinian Territories is 63 percent.

Unions have responded by concentrating on social, rather than workplace organising, agitating on behalf of families.

In the past two years they have won significant gains - free health services for members and their families; waved school fees for sons and daughters of the unemployed and a US$100 one-off payment for all families of more than seven people, courtesy of a deal struck with the Saudis.

The reality of trade unionism in the territories puts our brushes with Tony Abbott and Jonathan Hamberger into perspective. Three times in the past two years, PGFTU offices have been shot up by US-supplied, Israeli F16 fighter planes.

Despite her disappointment at an Iraq resolution designed to placate all, Masrujeh said the ICFTU women's conference in Melbourne had been "very useful" and there was no chance of Palestinians walking away from the organisation.

"We didn't get everything we wanted but we did get some changes," she said. "It was just disappointing that people weren't prepared to give us more say on something that affects us so vitally.

"In the event of war, Palestinians will suffer more than most."


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