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Issue No. 175 24 April 2003  

Domestic Relations
As the fog of war lifts and attention returns to the domestic phase we find a Federal Opposition imploding as the Prime Minister prepares for the final putsch toward what he sees as his historical mission.


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’s 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’s Life
The life of Ned Kelly is what we in the world of journalism term a “ball tearing yarn” 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.


 Medicare Bombshell – Bosses To Pay

 Another Cole Man Bites The Dust

 Cheap Indian on Telstra Menu

 Legal Tussle Looms Over Email Laws

 Recycled Training Stitch-Up Exposed

 Contractors Code Fires a Blank

 Sweet Talk – Big Business Style

 Bosses, Workers Unite on Grey Threat

 ANZ Workers Want Cut of Billion Dollar Profit

 Time for Death Penalties

 Union Exhibition for Wollongong

 Nurses in Staffing Stand-off

 North Coast Jobs Saved

 Super Success in Pilbara

 Howard Attacks Education - Again

 May Day Festivities


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.

 Tom's Cunning Plan
 Robert's Conquest?
 Success Breeds Contempt
 Join the Dots
 Still Walking
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Cheap Indian on Telstra Menu

Australia’s biggest company, Telstra, is paying guest IT workers less than 20 percent what it pays Australians to do the same job.

Confirmation came, courtesy of the Herald Sun which spoke to a Melbourne-based Indian IT worker, as Australia’s largest company denied it was paying “sweatshop wages” to foreign workers.

The unidentified worker confirmed he was receiving just $820 a month, under a contract negotiated with an Indian IT giant, whilst Australian Telstra employees on similar work received around $5000 a month.

"I'm actually underpaid because of what Australians earn for my quality and my work. There is a disparity," the worker told the Herald Sun.

Sources close to Telstra insist the company is using about 100 Indian computer workers in a bid to further cut labour costs.

The revelation confirms Telstra's reputation as the company most eager to accept gifts from Peter Reith and Tony Abbott that allow established wages and conditions to be undercut.

The giant telco, set to report a $3.66 billion profit this year, has enthusiastically picked up on opportunities to contract out, use labour hire companies, employ on AWAs and, now, import guest labour in bids to sidestep standard wages and conditions.

Telstra has slashed 50,000 jobs since being part-privatised and chief executive officer, Ziggy Switkowski, has offered the community no apologies. He refuses to rule out further job losses and unions believe he might already have another 4000 Australian families in his sights.

Unions have lashed the latest Telstra cost-cutting measure as exploitative and immoral.

CPSU national secretary, Adrian O'Connell, labelled it a "scandal".

O'Connell said the company was doing little more than the Federal Government's bidding, after the release of a report that suggested Australian companies cut IT costs by outsorcing some of their operations to India.

He called on Telstra executives to think, for once, of the long-term damage to the community of their short-term cost cutting.

Country NSW Unplugged/b>

CEPU, meanwhile, will see the corporation in the IRC as it moves to head off redundancies around country NSW.

Telstra has announced plans to chop 100 people from its IS&W Rural and Remote Fix It units, affecting Newcastle, the Riverina, Central Coast, Mid-North Coast, New England, Far North Coast, South Coast, Lithgow and Broken Hill regions.

CEPU branch secretary, Jim Metcher, said the company had been warned repeatedly that its drive to cut jobs would have "disastrous consequences" for the integrity of the national telcommunications network.

"Telephone services, expecially in rural and remote area, can only continue deteriorating," Metcher said.

CEPU has lodged a dispute against the company, over the latest round of redundancies, in the NSW IRC.


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