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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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"Puppet" Sparks Appeals

Controversial Government appointee to the Industrial Relations Commission, Rob Cartwright, is using his position to over-rule agreements consented to by union and employer representatives.

Senior Deputy President Cartwright, appointed to the bench by former Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith, is the first IRC Commissioner in Australian history to have been found guilty of discriminating against tens of thousands of workers on the basis of their union membership.

Unions are considering appeals against his recent decision to refuse certification to a consent agreement between the AWU, AMWU and Unilever, over objections to clauses providing right of entry to union officials and imposing conditions on the use of labour hire.

Cartwright found the clauses did not relate to the relationship between employer and employees. He has subsequently used his own decision to knock back other agreements.

Announcing a meeting with affiliates to consider appeals against the Cartwright rulings, Labor Council secretary John Robertson argued right of entry and labour hire both had "direct bearings" on employment relationships.

"This is a bloke who came to the Commission with a track record and was appointed by Peter Reith or Tony Abbott," Robertson said.

"Now, it appears, the puppet is dancing to the pupeteer's tune."

Cartwright was one of a number of employer activists appointed to the IRC in the lead-up to the last general election in a move widely interpreted as an attempt to stack the bench.

He had built a strong anti-union reputation in HR roles at Rio Tinto and Telstra.

Within six months of being appointed Telstra's IR chief, he was pictured in the press with his boot on a stack of negotiated awards and agreements, announcing his intention to get rid of them.

Under his stewardship, Telstra led the country in seizing on changes to the Workplace Relations Act designed to sideline unions and cut wages and conditions. It sacked 10,000 Australians, championed the use of AWAs, and led the corporate charge to contracting out.

When Australia's largest company announced 10,000 job losses, Cartwright instructed managers that staff who had opted for AWAs over union agreements should receive preferential treatment.

That move led to the High Court finding the company had discrimated against 42,000 employees, on the basis of union membership, and ordering payment of $76,000.

The decision sparked calls for Cartwright to resign from the IRC, and lawyer predictions that his rulings could be appealed on the ground of perceived bias.

Current Workplace Relations Minister, Abbott, rejected the calls, expressing confidence in Cartwright's ability to do the job.


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