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Issue No. 184 27 June 2003  

To the Victors The Spoils
Revelations that private American lawyers, rather than the ILO, will rewrite the labour laws of countries levelled by the American military vindicate the warnings of those concerned by US unilateralism.


History: Nest of Traitors
Rowan Cahill uncovers a ripping yarn that could redefine the way we look at Australian involvement in World War II.

Interview: A Nation of Hope
Former PM Bob Hawke bemoans the demise of industrial relations but takes heart from the prospect of peace in the Middle East

Unions: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on a soap star rebellion, Howard�s plans to renuclearise South Australia, more historical atrocities in the north, the redundancy test case plus more in the monthly national wrap.

Safety: The Shocking Truth
It�s every power worker�s worst nightmare � and it happened to Adrian Ware. In a flash of voltage, his life changed forever, as Jim Marr reports.

Tribute: A Comrade Departed
From Prime Ministers to wharfies, the labour movement paid tribute to Tas Bull this week. Jim Marr was among them.

History: Working Bees
Neale Towart looks at a group of workers who got sacked so their boss could keep making the Bomb.

Education: The Big Picture
The NTEU�s Dr Mike Donaldson and Tony Brown join all the dots in the current debate around higher eduction.

International: Static Labour
Ray Marcelo argues there�s another side to the recent furore over Telstra�s use of cheap Indian IT contractors.

Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Frank Stilwell argues that Peter Costello�s latest budget plumbs fiscal policy to new depths.

Technology: Google and Campaigning
Labourstart�s Eric Lee argues the latest weapon for campaigning could be the humble search engine.

Review: Secretary With A Difference
Looking for a new job can be hard enough, without having to worry about sadomasochistic bosses and the threat of being spanked for forgetting to cross your �t�s, says Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Minimale
The Labor Party leadership is in the news again, inspiring our resident bard David Peetz to song

Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
John Howard released a controversial policy statement today, arguing that the Senate be abolished in favour of a device measuring noise from the gallery of the House of Representatives.


 Rail Chaos Looms

 Electrolux Blows Fuse at Fundraiser

 ACM Loosens Handcuff on Democracy

 Sick Call on Mum�s Job

 Now For Industrial Shock and Awe

 Brian Miller � Working Class Hero

 Dynamite: Howard Handout for Rorters

 Family Case to Nurture Mothers

 Militants Lock Out Another 600

 Tipping the Turtle � Fijian Style

 Carr Goes Private

 Wages Blemish Sound Budget

 Westie Takes On Westfield �Hypocrisy�

 Eleventh Hour Reprieve for Women's Centre

 Activist Notebook


It�s Our Party
Long time union watcher Nicholas Way looks at the changing dynamics between the industrial and political wings of the labour movement.

The Soapbox
Grass Roots
In his Maiden Speech, new MP Tony Burke argues that the ALP�s union links are nothing to be ashamed of.

Opinion Forming Down Under
Evan Jones condemns the mainstream�s media coverage of the War on Iraq and the damage it is doing to our national psyche.

The Locker Room
Location, Re-Location!
It�s all fun and games until someone loses a club, writes Phil Doyle

 In Defence of Cuba
 The Story in General
 Thinking of America
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Rail Chaos Looms

Tens of thousands of Sydney rail commuters will be stranded if employers continue pattern resistance to Campaign 2003, denying any protection for entitlements.

AMWU secretary, Paul Bastian, warned the whole network could come to a �screaming halt� after a range of companies locked workers out at Chullora and Auburn, threatened legal action at Bathurst, and slashed maintenance levels below specifications at Newcastle.

The combined efforts of their workforces is crucial to the continued operation of the NSW rail system. Rail Fleet Services at Chullora, 50 percent owned by state government, does heavy overhauls for diesels, XPT, Endeavour and Explorer trains. Maintrain at Auburn maintains Sydney's suburban passenger fleet. EDI, Bathurst, builds bogeys for the new Millenium trains, whilst its Newcastle plant, at Koorangang Island, repairs freight wagons for Pacific National.

Industrial action, in the form of strike, bans or lockout, threatens each location and employer resistance to entitlements protection has emerged as a common sticking point.

Maintrain, for example, is trying to backtrack on redundancy commitments brokered two years ago by former Prime Minister Bob Hawke in settlement of a dispute that ran for 11 weeks. The company stood down its 300 strong workforce last week.

Union members at Bathurst have begun a campaign of rolling stoppages after EDI refused to give commitments on job security or entitlements protection.

The company is also refusing to negotiate on entitlements at Newcastle, while Rail Fleet Services threatened to close its site rather than guarantee entitlements. More than 80 union members there, the lowest paid in the rail industry, have imposed bans.

Bastian was critical of Transport Services Minister, Michael Costa, who he said had virtually washed his hands of the looming shutdown.

Bastian said he had tried repeatedly to discuss the impasse with the Minister but his messages hadn't even elicited a reply.

"The central issue in all this is security of our members entitlements," Bastian said. "We are not prepared to see these companies lose contracts, or go bankrupt, and walk away with our money.

"We don't mind a tough fight with the employers, we will not shirk that but we do feel a responsibility when it comes to the trains in NSW to at least try to resolve these disputes before we close the system down.

"We would have thought there might also have been a role for the NSW Government in trying to prevent that happening."

Labor Council will try to organise a meeting between rail unions and Transport Services Minister, Michael Costa, in a bid to head off a rail shutdown.


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