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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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Tycoon Tuned Out

Media tycoon Bruce Gordon joined thousands of Australians in not watching his own station, WIN Television, last Friday.

Sources close to Gordon insist the decision had more to do with his "location" than support for the CPSU's campaign to push WIN into negotiating an agreement for staff around regional Australia.

Fact is that despite his corporate philosophy "... your community is very important to us. That's because your community is our community too," Gordon chooses to reside in the Bahamas, a notorious tax haven.

Hundreds of pledges to back the community switch-off had, however, been received from more relevant locations, including Woollongong, Hobart and Thuringowa.

CPSU officials reported the rattled company had finally started talking to the union, albeit via threats from its lawyers.

WIN staff are seeking a basic agreement with claims to recognise industry standard wages and multi-skilling and to agree to redundancy and on-call provisions.

The union highlights the example of news camera operators, also required to oversee lighting, sound, shooting and editing. These people are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are paid a gross of $585 by the company.

"When an employer who has refused to negotiate with the union starts communicating through lawyers you know they are rattled," CPSU secretary Adrian O'Connell said after last week's Boycott WIN day.

"There is a simple solution - come to the negotiating table. They have our number."

Big city unionists threw their weight behind the regional turn-off with both ACTU president, Sharan Burrow, and NSW Labor Council secretary, John Robertson, declaring public support.

Robertson said community involvement in the WIN campaign was a pointer to other unions.

"Usually the interests of workers and the general community are the same," Robertson said. "It's true of banks, schools and hospitals and its also true of regional television.

"WIN's tactics are a big turn-off so why shouldn't people return the favour."

WIN runs branches in Wollongong, Dubbo, Orange, Griffith, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Cairns, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Ballarat, Albury, Muldura, Shepparton, Gippsland, Launceston and Mt Gambier.


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