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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

Death Squads Strike


Four Colombian trade unionists were murdered in the week of May Day, taking the total for the year to 135 and sparking international demands for the killings to stop.

On May 1, Juan de Jesus Gomez president of the rural workers union, was gunned down in the cit of San Alberto.

Seven days later, Nelson Lpez, Wilmen vergara and Jorge Vasquez were killed after a powerful bomb exploded outside their hut at the Cali Drinking Water Plant. All three were union activists who had been involved in a long-running industrial and political campaign to prevent Government privatising the facility.

Their union, SINTRAEMCALI, had reported the presence of suspect vehicles and urged increased security in the three days before the killing.

The murders occurred as union representatives and the Superintendent of Public Services were negotiating over the future of the plant's operator which provides water, sanitation and electricity to the city of 2.5 million people.

Nobody has been arrested, much less charged or convicted, for any of this year's murders.

Both the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) and Public Service International (PSI) are involved in a campaign to pressure the US-supported Colombian government to stop the killings.]

A model PSI letter is attached below. It should be sent to the Colombian President at:

Sr Alvaro Uribe Velez

Presidente de la Republica de Colombia

Carrera 8 No 7-26

Palacio de Narino

Sante Fe de Bogota

Colombia

[email protected]


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