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Issue No. 178 16 May 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Shit Sandwich
It took a few well-chosen comments by the sole Howard Government minister with a grasp on reality - or at least a penchant for a bit of takeaway - to blow Peter Costello’s Federal Budget to pieces.

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

 Costello Whacks Women

 Abbott Picks Fight with Nurses

 Simon Slams Big End

 Hands-Off Howard Loses Seamen

 Safety Net Slips Disabled

 Clerks Put Boot In

 Bank Hold-Ups Expose Compo Failings

 Low Paid Dirty on Lawyer

 WIN Tactics a Big Turn Off

 ABC Jobs On Line

 Della’s Dallying Could Cost Miners

 Ministers of Misinformation Scoop Orwells

 Death Squads Strike

 Currawong Cottages Waiting for You

 Activists 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
 Ron The Tool
 In Defence of Tom
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Low Paid Dirty on Lawyer


Production workers paid $12 an hour will spearhead a protest, next Thursday, outside the city legal practice of an employer found by the IRC to have engaged in unfair conduct against them.

Job delegate, Edith Rapana, urged other workers to support the lunchtime protest in Clarence St that will target lawyer, Judith Beswick, who doubles as the boss of Arncliffe printing and packaging firm, Morris McMahon.

AMWU members at the company have been striking for nine weeks in a bid to negotiate wage improvements but Beswick has responded by refusing to recognise their representatives, bussing in scabs and offering individuals $1000 lures to sign non-union Australian Workplace Agreements.

Commissioner Munro, in the NSW IRC, was highly critical of the lawyer's tactics when issuing 166 Orders under the Workplace Relations Act.

In a written judgement, Munro expressed regret that industrial law didn't provide adequate sanctions for her sort of behaviour.

He said Beswick's company had engaged in "practise that is not fair labour process" and had "not bargained in good faith with representatives of the bulk of its employees."

It was, he said, "appropriate to place on record that in my view the company, by its bargaining conduct, has contributed to or engaged in a form of conduct that would merit sanction or prevention if relevant powers or defences were available".

Gary Hingle, secretary of the AMWU vehicle division, said the strikers, battling for the right to union representation, faced busloads of scabs from a "professional strike breaking company" every morning and afternoon.

"They have been standing in flood waters and mud up to their knees. But they will not give in to a boss who treats them as if the Master Servant Act was still in place and refuses to pay them a fair wage, allow them to belong to their union, or have a legally-registered agreement," Hingle said.

Labor Council is backing the Clarence St rally and is urging members of affiliated unions to attend.


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