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Issue No. 190 08 August 2003  

Border Protection
The High Court’s decision that Australian labour laws should apply to cargo ships plying our shores could be the first shot in the fight back against the excess of corporate globalisation.


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.


 Legal Missile Holes Ships of Shame

 Labour Rights Threaten Trade Deal

 Workers Sharpen Community Clause

 "Puppet" Sparks Appeals

 FiFo, FiFo – Out the Gate We Go

 SRA Chief Off The Rails

 Qantas: Long Lunches on Rocks

 Water Crisis a Mist for Sell-Off

 Aussies Enter Karoshi Zone

 Combet Flies Ansett Plan

 Westfield Workers Seek Clean Start

 Rubber Workers Stretch Bridgestone

 Workers Art in Broken Hill

 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.

 Workplace Bullying
 Casual TAFE
 Wage Rise
 The Fifth Column
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Legal Missile Holes Ships of Shame

A seven-nil judicial flogging for the Howard Government could sink Flag of Convenience shipping on domestic routes.

MUA secretary, Paddy Crumlin, raised the prospect when he said the unanimous High Court decision, bringing Bahamas-flagged CSL vessels Stadacona and Yarra under AIRC jurisdiction, could be extended into other crucial areas.

"We couldn't have written the decision better ourselves," Crumlin said. "The High Court has gone a lot further than the Commission decision being contested by the company and the Federal Government.

"The High Court has ruled that ships trading in Australia are subject to Australian law, even those on international voyages.

"We now have jurisdiction over labour and the door is open to seek jurisdiction over other areas."

Crumlin said Australian occupational health and safety, superannuation and workers compensation regimes would be natural flow-ons from yesterday's decision.

If the principle of Australian jurisdiction holds, there will also be problems with special permits issued by Transport Minister, John Anderson, to allow foreign-registered shippers to circumvent immigration procedures.

At that point, Crumlin says, most of the advantages of Flag of Convenience traders - cheap labour and non-compliance with domestic rules and regulations - will have been lost.

"Is someone going to persevere with employing foreign crews in that situation?" he asked.

Yesterday, the High Court ruled that irrespective of flag, crew nationality, or which country a shipping company is based in, ships engaged on Australia's coastal trade are subject to AIRC jurisdiction.

The battle over the flagging out of CSL vessels has raged since the Australian crew of the Yarra barricaded themselves on board the bulk carrier at Port Pirie, last May.

Somewhat apologetically, the employer said Government support for flag of convenience shipping had left it with no alternative but to dump Australian seamen, replace them with cut-rate Ukrainians, and move registration off-shore.

Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott, and Transport Minister Anderson both backed the Canadian ship owners.

Since their Government came to office in 1996 and began issuing permits to foreign operators, the number of Australian vessels on the coastal trade has plummeted from 90 to less than 50.

Maritime Unions sought to rope the Stadacona and Yarra into Australian labour jurisdiction in the AIRC. They won their case last September but CSL, supported by the Federal Government, appealed to the High Court.

MUA lawyer Bill McNally said employment law, relating to foreign ships on the Australian coast, had been settled "once and for all" by the High Court.

"The extraordinary thing is that the Australian Government chose to support foreign ship owners over Australian workers," McNally said.

Crumlin called on the Transport Minister and senior departmental officials to rethink their maritime policy in light of the High Court ruling.


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