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Issue No. 173 04 April 2003  

The Fog of War
As the War Without a Mandate proceeds apace, any notion of a domestic political agenda has become surplus to requirements.


Interview: Picking Up The Peaces
Walk Against the War Coalition convenor Bruce Childs outlines the challenge for the peace movement in the lead up to Palm Sunday.

Unions: The Royal Con
Jim Marr argues the Cole Commission can only be taken seriously by people kept ignorant of the way it actually operated.

National Focus: Around the Grounds
Unions maintain the pressure for peace as the upcoming organising conference takes on added significance, reports Noel Hester.

Economics: The Secret War on Trade
Overseas-based multi-nationals are coming after our film industry, electricity, water, pharmaceutical benefits and even childcare. Or are they? Nobody knows, as Jim Marr reports.

International: United Front
Workers and their unions around the world have possibly never been as united in their commitment to campaign together against the War in Iraq, writes Andrew Casey

History: Confessions of a Badge Collector
Bill Pirie has one of the largest collections of trade union badges in the world. After 20 years the collection now numbers some 6,000 badges.

Politics: Stalin´┐Żs Legacy
Fifty years ago last month Josef Stalin died. How could it be that a democratic and socialist revolution produced one of the monsters of the twentieth century, asks Leonie Bronstein.

Review: Such Was Not Ned´┐Żs Life
The life of Ned Kelly is what we in the world of journalism term a ´┐Żball tearing yarn´┐Ż so why have writers of the movie adaptation felt so impelled to dress it up with fiction, asks Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Osama's Top Recruiter
Through our extensive intelligence networks, we have managed to track down the top recruiter for the global terror network of Osama bin Laden.

Satire: Woolworths CEO Denied Bonus After Company Posts Profit
Woolworths chief executive Roger Corbett was devastated today to report an 18.3% rise in profit under his management over the last year.


 Cole Launches Civil Rights Assault

 Protests Target Arncliffe ´┐ŻShocker´┐Ż

 Commerce Swallows DIR

 Abbott, Bosses Turn Guns on Low Paid

 Fat Cats Should Justify Salaries - LHMU

 Black Humour for a Dark Issue

 Minister on Threats, Coercion

 Bosses Stonewall Union Dues Ruling

 Private Hospitals Pay Out on 15 Percent

 Councils on Hotel Workers´┐Ż Agenda

 Sharon Hammers Israeli Workers

 Shangri-La Blue Ends

 Inaugural Orwell Awards

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
Factional Free-For-All
Chris Christodoulou looks at the fallout from the selection of the new Carr Ministry and what it means to the factional warlords.

The Locker Room
The Best Season Since Last Year
Phil Doyle goes trudging through the mud in search of the heart of the matter beneath the corporate biffo

Books on Bombs
In times like these, reading inevitably turns to America and war. Chris White wades through Pilger, Chomsky, Eco, Moore and Vidal.

Postcard from Harvard
Labor Council's Michael Gadiel was elected to give the valedictory speech to this year's Harvard Trade Union Program.

 The Rule of Law
 Trots Bomb Back
 Tom's Turn
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Shangri-La Blue Ends

Indonesian hotel workers have ended their two-year battle with the Shangri La Hotel after a confidential settlement with one of the world´┐Żs wealthiest men.

More than two years ago about 250 Indonesian police officers stormed the five-star Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta to break up a sit-in strike by hotel union members campaigning for better wages and working conditions.

The Shangri-La chain, owned by Robert Kwok, runs more than 40 luxury hotels throughout the Asia Pacific region and the Middle East.

The confidential settlement, described by one Indonesian source as a "major victory", came as Shangri La announcecd its entry to the Australian market. The chain has won the management rights agreement for the former ANA Harbour Grand Hotel, a 561-room hotel to be rebranded as the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney.

Hotel union members here in Australia participated in several protests and fund raisers over those two years to back hotel workers in Jakarta.

The dispute captured the imagination of union members across Australia with the NSW Labor Council and other State TLCs providing support and platforms to back this cause.

ACTU President, Sharan Burrow, was threatened by the Shangri-La chain with legal action because she dared to speak up for the Jakarta workers.

A number of LHMU members visited Jakarta to support the Shangri-La workers, and some of the union activists from the SPMS, which stands for Shangri-La Independent Workers' Union Federation, came to Australia to brief union members in their workplaces about this dispute.

This was one of the first times that a global federation of hotel unions did battle with a global giant in the hospitality industry.

A huge e-mail protest campaign, first started by the international union website LabourStart sent thousands of angry e-mails to Robert Kwok telling him that people around the world were angry about how he was treating the Jakarta hotel workers.

At one point unions and their members in 30 different countries held rallies and sent protest e-mails to Kwok.


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