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Issue No. 179 23 May 2003  

The Game’s Up
Research into executive pay commissioned by the NSW Labor Council makes explicit what most of us have suspected for some time: the multi-million packages are a rolled gold rort.


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.


 War Declared on Mega Salaries

 Poms Prick Golden Parachute

 Picket Breaks Abbott

 Abbott: Unions are Winning

 Hotel Silences Poverty Witness

 We’ve Lost A Lion

 Nurses Refuse to be Shelved

 Boss Picks Porters’ Pockets

 Left, Right Meet at Sea

 ACTU Prescribes Pan Medicine

 Tycoon Tuned Out

 MUA Clout in Wollongong Punch-Up

 Pusey Roams Dark Side

 Activists 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.

 Hard Copy
 Bad Language
 Modern Management Theory
 Tom's Revival
 Off the Rails
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Left, Right Meet at Sea

Incidents like the infamous DB 101 case should be consigned to history under the terms of a formal alliance thrashed out by the right wing AWU and left wing MUA.

The long-time foes have struck a ground-breaking partnership that will end demarcation rows in Australia's offshore oil and gas industries.

After months of talks the two bodies will formally join forces to promote unionism in a multi-billion industry, which employs thousands of people.

The agreement, unthinkable even 10 years ago, pledges an end to demarcation disputes and that the two organisations will combine resources to ...

- increase the coverage of collective agreements

- improve occupational health and safety, wages and working conditions

- boost the rate of union membership

Woodside, Exxon/Mobil, BHPBilliton, Newfield Exploration, Apache Energy, Chevron, Diamond Offshore and Vanguard will be among the first companies targeted by the joint organising campaign.

Enmity between the two organisations stretches back decades and was heightened as labour movement factions lined up with different international forces during the Cold War.

Older seamen still talk of DB 101, a crane ship brought to Australia by seamen who had legitimate coverage of propelled vehicles. In order to paint seamen out of the picture, the company that operated it in Bass St removed the propeller and hired members of the AWU.

That manouevre, from nearly 20 years ago, was subsequently endorsed by Australian courts.

Current leaders of the respective unions are determined to put the tensions of those days behind.

"The Alliance is giving off-shore companies notice that we will be campaigning heavily on all major sites and will not stop until we improve occupational health and safety standards and the conditions of off-shore workers," AWU national secretary Bill Shorten said.

MUA counterpart Padraig Crumlin endorsed the strategy, saying pooled resources would enable better detection or rorts and protection of for members.

About 5000 workers are employed off-shore on gas and oil rigs and in allied service industries.

This week's MUA-AWU agreement gives practical effect to thousands of words spoken over recent years about burying ideological differences for the benefit of rank and file union members.


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