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Issue No. 177 09 May 2003  

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.

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L A T E S T   N E W S

Combet Calls On Unions to Muscle Up
The head of the ACTU has called for a rethink of the way unions do politics, calling on them to reassert their role beyond the workplace and hold all political parties accountable for promoting their members’ interests.

ACTU secretary Greg Combet told a meeting of more than 700 trade union organisers in Sydney that a clearly articulated set of values, that transcends industrial relations, is needed to rebuild union power. [full story]

HR Honours Death List Author
The HR Nicholls Society has presented a medal to a Perth building magnate being investigated by police after boasting of drawing up a hit list of 30 trade unionists.

The ultra-Right organisation honoured Len Buckeridge with its Charles Copeman Medal, struck to commemorate the antics of a New Right activist and Robe River strikebreaker, for “services to industrial reform”. [full story]

Hotel Workers Trump Living Wage
Unionised, low-paid workers are spear-heading a deal that leaves the IRC’s minimum wage award in the shade, and throws in a maternity leave breakthrough for good measure.

Two thousand employees of the Starwood Hotel chain are voting on an enterprise bargaining proposal that would boost average weekly fulltime wages by $62 a week, compared to the $17 granted by the IRC, and introduce six weeks of paid maternity leave.  [full story]

Abbott Brushes Security Concerns
Australia’s national security interests are taking a back seat to Tony Abbott’s one-man war against the CFMEU.

Caught in the crossfire is Australia Post’s $20 million Tullamarine mail centre, touted as a front line response to the threats of terror and drugs, which has been delayed again because Abbott won’t accept builders who have pattern agreements with Australia’s largest construction union. [full story]

Rebates Thorn in Medicare Side
No amount of argy-bargy over co-payments will save Medicare while the Government continues to pour billions of health dollars into the coffers of insurance companies.

That’s the view of frustrated Canterbury GP, Con Costa, who is challenging political parties to face up to the threat posed by the Federal Government’s Health Insurance Rebate. [full story]

Bosses Infected With SARS Hysteria
Some of Australia’s biggest employers are attempting to force workers to foot the bill for increased precautions to deal with the SARS virus.

While Qantas is blaming its latest round of job cuts on the virus, Westpac, ANZ, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Macquarie Bank, Telstra, Lend Lease, Singapore Airlines and HSBC are among the corporate giants enforcing quarantine periods for staff travelling to Asia. [full story]


 Entitlements: Bargaining Chip Ploy Fails

 Nelson Plan Faces Higher Hurdle

 Public To Pay For Patrick Closure

 Airline Ratbags Bigger Than Texas

 Credibility Crisis for World Bank

 Acid on Billion Dollar Banks

 CSIRO Budget Fears

 Activists Notebook

email workers to a friend latest breaking news from labornet
Generation Next: Greg Combet with graduates from this year's ACTU Organising Works program

It’s about joining up the dots; from the shop floor to the industry to the broader society. It all comes down to values.

Loony Tunes


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.

LETTERS to the Editor
 The Workers Press
 Massive Attack
 Teamwork Tom

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