The Official Organ of LaborNET
click here to view the latest edition of Workers Online
The Official Organ of LaborNET
Free home delivery
Issue No. 176 02 May 2003  

Solidarity Forever
Another May Day, another year gone, another year to look back on our history and celebrate the past and talk about how we can make our movement strong again.


Interview: Staying Alive
CPSU national secretary Adrian O'Connell talks about the fight to keep the public service - and the union movement - alive.

Bad Boss: The Ultimate Piss Off
Wollongong workers on poverty-level wages are losing up to $5000 for taking toilet breaks, according to the union representing staff at a Stellar call centre.

Industrial: Last Drinks
Jim Marr looks at the human cost of the decision to close Sydney’s Carlton United Brewery

National Focus: Around the States
If Tampa told us that John Howard circa 2003 is the same spotted rabid dog from 1987, this week’s assault on Medicare confirms it reports Noel Hester in this national round up.

Politics: Radical Surgery
Workers are vitally interested in Medicare, not least because they traded away wage rises to get it. Now, Jim Marr writes, the Coalition Government is tearing apart the 20-year-old social contract on which it was founded.

Education: The Price of Missing Out
University students and their families will pay more for their education following the May Budget, writes Tony Brown.

Legal: If At First You Don't Succeed
Love is wonderful the second time around, goes the famous torch song. But is the same true for legislation? Asks Ashley Crossland

History: Massive Attack
Labour historian Dr Lucy Taksa remembers the general strike of 1917 to put the recent anti-war marches into perspective

Culture: What's Right
Neale Towart looks at a new book that looks at the failings of the Left, while reasserting the liberal project

Review: If He Should Fall
Jim Marr caught Irish folk-rock-punk legend Shane MacGowan at Sydney’s Metro Theatre. He was surprised but not disappointed.

Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Through a distortion in the time-space continuum, we have found a recording showing how people a few years into the future will deal with health care.

Satire: IMF Ensures Iraq Institutes Market Based Looting
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to monitor the Iraqi economy to ensure that the reintroduction of looting into the economy conforms with free-market theory.


 Mystery Men Behind Pan Bungle

 Charities Brace for Medicare Backlash

 Court Throws Out Cole Prosecutions

 Child Actor Dodges Broken Voice

 Rio Tinto: $40 Million for Boss, Eviction for Workers

 Child Care for Oldies Too

 Winning Poster Shouts at Freeloaders

 May Day Tragedy Claims Union Lives

 Westfield Cleaners to Down Mops

 Question Marks Over Nursing Home

 Burn Payout Highlights Compo Fears

 Costa Blows Whistle on Canberra Raid

 Hoops Bet on National Body

 Tear Us Down, Buttercup

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
What May Day Means to Me
Reader Marlene McAlear penned this tribue to May Day and worker solidarity.

The Toast
Labor Council secretary John Robertson's toast to the annual May Day dinner in Sydney.

The Locker Room
The Numbers Game
In life there is lies, damned lies and sporting statistics, says Phil Doyle - but who’s counting.

Brukman Evicted
ZNet's Marie Trigona reports from the streets of Argentina in the rundown to last week's presidential election.

The Costs of Excess
Some tall business poppies had their heads lopped this week as the laws of economic gravity applied their always chaotic theory.

 Is Labor History?
 Bob Gould Sprays Gerard Henderson
 War and Peace
 A Strange Light
 A Little History
 Does It Have To Be?
About Workers Online
Latest Issue
Print Latest Issue
Previous Issues
Advanced Search

other LaborNET sites

Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
Evatt Foundation

Labor for Refugees



Rio Tinto: $40 Million for Boss, Eviction for Workers

Rio Tinto is attempting to throw five families out of their central Queensland homes and slash health care from retired Utah steelworkers while authorising a $40 million retiremement payout for chairman, Robert Wilson.

More than 2000 Western Australian trade unionists rallied outside the Perth offices of Hammersley Iron demanding a fair go for the miners and steelworkers on May Day before representatives put their cases to shareholders at the nearby AGM of parent company, Rio Tinto.

CFMEU speakers at the AGM were joined by five steelworkers from the US and Canada. So convincing was their concerted attack on the credibility of the company's statement of corporate conduct, promising dignity and respect for employees, that the chairman closed the meeting with a reference to their complaints.

"I have been attending these meetings for a number of years and this was the first time I have heard a chairman assure shareholders that the company would try to address our issues," CFMEU national secretary John Maitland said.

"How far they move remains to be seen."

The CFMEU is enraged over Rio Tinto's treatment of five families from Clermont, central Queensland. They are the remnants of 16 union activists sacked five years ago and repeatedly found to have been unjustifiably dismissed.

Rio Tinto refuses to re-hire them and has now moved to have them evicted from their homes of up to 15 years.

The union is seeking an exceptional matters reinstatement order in the IRC and has offered the company a way out by suggesting re-employment at its new Hail Creek mine. The company has been unresponsive.

The five families will be in the Magistrates Court on May 23, with CFMEU support, to try and stave off the eviction orders.

"This is our home. It is where our children are growing up but Rio wants to throw us out," miner's wife Jacqui Barnes said. "For years we lived with company smears that our husbands weren't good enough for their jobs then the courts found this was not true, they had been victimised for supporting their union - now this."

In the US, Rio Tinto is trying to cut health care benefits from retired steelworkers at its Kennicott Copper plant in Utah.

Maitland says it is trying to achieve that by pressuring existing employees over their next agreement.

"It's the sort of situation you face when you are reliant on private health care," he says. "It is very relevant to Australians, given what this government is trying to do with Medicare."

US, Canadian and Australian union representatives met with Rio Tinto after its AGM.

The CFMEU and North American steelworkers have agreed to join forces over social justice and workplace issues with Rio Tinto internationally.


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 176 contents

email workers to a friend printer-friendly version latest breaking news from labornet

Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue

© 1999-2002 Workers Online
Workers Online is a resource for the Labour movement
provided by the Labor Council of NSW
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005

Powered by APT Solutions
Labor Council of NSW Workers Online