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Issue No. 189 01 August 2003  

The Secret Life of Us
The fact that casual workers are too scared to come forward and testify about the need for job security seems to prove their basic point � no matter how long or how well you work, you can never feel safe in your job.


Interview: The New Deal
US union leader Amy Dean expands on her agenda to give unions a real political voice

Unions: In the Line of Hire
Unions have lobbied and negotiated in a bid to stem casualisation and insecurity. Now, Jim Marr, writes they are seeking protection through a formal Test Case.

Culture: Too Cool for the Collective?
Young people are amongst the most vulnerable in the workforce. So why aren't they joining the union, asks Carly Knowles

International: The Domino Effect
An internal struggle in the biggest and strongest industrial union in Germany IG Metall has had a devastating wave effect across not just that country, but also the rest of Europe, writes Andrew Casey.

Industrial: A Spanner in the Works
Max Ogden looks at the vexed issue of Works Councils and the differing views within the union movement to them.

National Focus: Gathering of the Tribes
Achieving a fairer society and a better working life for employees from across Australia will be key themes at the ACTU's triennial Congress meeting later this month reports Noel Hester.

History: The Welcome Nazi Tourist
Rowan Cahill looks at the role Australia's conservatives played in supporting facism in the days before World War II.

Bad Boss: Domm, Domm Turn Around
Frank Sartor might have shot through but Robert Domm still calls the IR shots at Sydney City which pretty much explains why the council is this month�s Bad Boss nominee.

Poetry: Just Move On.
Visiting bard Maurie Fairfield brightens up our page with a ditty about little white lies.

Review: Reality Bites
The workers, united, may never be defeated but if recent episodes of Channel 10 drama The Secret Life Of Us are to be believed, this is not necessarily a good thing, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Tough Women Draw Line at Sacking

 Witness Protection Urged on IRC

 Max Swings Axe at Safety

 Sick Twist in Drug Testing

 Sacked Mum Goes to the Top

 Cuts Sour ADB Birthday Bash

 Howard Enlists Russians for Military

 Vic Workcover Invests in Worker Misery

 Public Hole in Power Shortage

 Whistleblower Sacking Sparks Zoo Walkout

 Truckie With Conscience Wins Back Job

 Indigenous Labour honours Tobler

 Asbestos Blocks Liverpool Road Works

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
Fighting Words
Craig Emerson gave what could be the most spirited Labor spray in a decade to the NSW Labor Council this month. Here it is in all its venom.

Out of Their Class
Phil Bradley argues that Australia's education system should not be up for negotiation in the global trade talks.

The Locker Room
The ABC of Sport
Phil Doyle argues that the only way to end the corporate madness that is sport, is to give it all back to the ABC.

Locks, Stocks and Barrels
Union Aid Abroad's Peter Jennings updates on the situation in Burma, where the repression of democracy is going from bad to worse.

 Bullies in the Ranks
 It Is Still About The Members Isn't It
 Tom's Purpose
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Max Swings Axe at Safety

Max Moore-Wilton is ignoring safety and security fears, highlighted by the failure of contracting at Adelaide Airport, in a bid to put an extra $380 million into the pockets of private investors, critics claim.

The boss at Sydney�s privatised international airport is contracting out 160 jobs in a re-run of the debacle that saw Adelaide Airport punt contractors and re-employ maintenance staff after a series of alarming incidents.

When Adelaide Airport was sold the new owners removed experienced staff within 18 months, largely by slashing wages and conditions through the use of AWAs.

A labour hire company put newcomers into their positions with potentially life-threatening consequences.

In one incident, the Instrument Landing System was shut down after a labour hire "safety officer" parked his vehicle in front of the Glidepath aerial, ignoring signs forbidding entry to the area.

On several occasions lighting was lost as electricians battled with airport requirements. At least once, it had to be restored by regular employees with no electrical qualifications.

Sydney Airport maintenance officer, Alan Dale, can see the similarities.

He is one of 14 workers employed on jobs from fixing perimeter fences to repainting taxi way lanes, maintaining lighting, and repairing runways.

The potential for safety blunders with labour hire workers, he says, is real.

"It's one thing to ride a mower or drive a tractor properly and its another thing to do it at an operating airport," he says.

"I hear the pilots on the radio, all the time, when I am on the runways. They always ask, does he know I am there?

"It's the same with any job, a lot of safety comes down to experience and knowing your workplace."

Dale and his colleagues are in a similar position to that which resulted in the majority of Adelaide workers seeking other jobs.

Moore-Wilton's sub-contractor, operated by the Botany Council, is offering wages they estimate would cost them between $20,000 and $25,000 a year, after losing sick, holiday and other entitlements.

CPSU representative, Larissa Andelmann, says security will come more sharply into focus in the next round of Moore-Wilton's cuts which focus on staff, including baggage handlers and safety officers.

SACL returned a $380 million in its first year after privatisation, slashing labour cost nearly 11 percent, and Moore-Wilton has announced his intention to double that figure over the next 12 months.

The IRC has ordered SACL to put off forced redundancies until August 12 when it will hear a report on negotiations between the company, the CPSU, AMWU, CEPU and APESMA.


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