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Issue No. 176 02 May 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 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

C O L U M N S

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

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.

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

Bosswatch
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.

L E T T E R S
 Is Labor History?
 Bob Gould Sprays Gerard Henderson
 War and Peace
 A Strange Light
 A Little History
 Does It Have To Be?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Westfield Cleaners to Down Mops


Parramatta’s giant Westfield Centre is staring down the barrel of industrial action from cleaners abandoned without pay for up to six weeks and forced to abort planned holidays.

The 85 cleaners, employed by P&H Property Services, are threatening to walk off the job for the first time since the five-level complex opened in 1974.

"The cleaning contractor at Parramatta Westfield has one of the most lucrative contracts in the country - but he's always forgetting to pay his workforce," LHMU representative Sonia Minutillo said.

"Pay day was yesterday and once again we got excuses. We've got a number of workers reporting they are regularly not seeing their fortnightly pay packets for six weeks or more.

"Some have had to cancel holiday plans because the company forgot to pay their holiday pay - the cheque arrives in the mail two weeks after the vacation period has started.

"The invisible workforce doesn't want to be invisible any more."

Talks between the union and contractor have been going on for more than a year with company promises to get its house in order remaining unfulfilled.

Cleaners held a two-hour stop work meeting on site today and demanded action on their claims within a fortnight.

Minutillo said Westfield cleaners held down "poverty jobs", based on low wages and insecure conditions.

"They can't afford not to get their money on time," she said. "The excuses don't wash any more. We want Westfield Parramatta management to tell its cleaning contractor if it gets a cheque on time from Westfield, it is expected to pay its workers on time."


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