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Issue No. 180 30 May 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Headless Nation
So the Governor-General has voted himself out of the Big House, recognising that his capacity to discharge his duties as Head of State had been fatally compromised by the skeletons in his Yarralumla closet.

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

 Sanitarium Casts Democracy into Hell’s Fire

 Mouse that Roared

 Abbott: Look After Number One

 Entitlements Revamp – Acid on States

 Strong Stuff – Commission Star in Court

 Think Before You Drink

 Maritime Hero Takes Final Journey

 All Ding but No Gong

 Aged Care in Terminal Condition

 Strathfield Joins War on Shonks

 AMWU Returns to the Fold

 Green Jobs In Offing

 Register for Action

 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
 Language Most Foul
 Unions Deserve Reputation
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

AMWU Returns to the Fold


The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union is to re-affiliate with the NSW Labor Council ending nine years outside the state’s peak union body.

The Council this week voted to invite the AMWU's metalworker and technical and service divisions to rejoin the organisation. The AMWU's printing and vehicles division are already affiliated

NSW Labor Council secretary John Robinson welcomed the decision, saying it would allow NSW unions to speak with a unified voice.

"This is another positive sign that the movement is putting aside its old factional divisions and recognises that in difficult times we need to be working together," Robertson says.

AMWU state secretary Paul Bastian said the AMWU State Council made this decision as it believes that the AMWU can make a positive contribution to the direction of the Labor Council.

"Under the current leadership of the Labor Council it appears that there is a real attempt being made to reflect the views of all of its affiliates, not just the dominant faction," Bastian says.

"The AMWU looks forward to a constructive partnership with Labor Council, but will continue to campaign and express its own views with the same robust independence that it has always done."

Low Paid Get Wage Flow On

Meanwhile, NSW Labor Council has welcomed the State Wage Case decision to award lowly paid workers a $17 per week wage increase.

A full bench of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission this week agreed to a flow on of the National Minimum Wage case, delivering a $17 per week pay rise for low paid workers and $15 for workers earning above $731.80 per week.

The decision applies to the 1.2 million workers employed under state awards in industries including hospitality, retail and the public sector.

Labor Council deputy assistant secretary Michael Gadiel welcomed the speedy flow on.

"This is good news for workers employed on minimum rate state awards," Gadiel says. "Compared to the Treasurer's piddling $4 tax cut, it is an increase that will ease some of the pain for workers who are struggling."


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