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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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SRA Chief Off The Rails

Rail unions are urging NSW Transport Minister Michael Costa to deliver on his oft-stated commitment to consultation as they brace for major reform.

The unions have foreshadowed a ‘summer of discontent’ for rail passengers if Costa does not pull his chief bureaucrat Vince Graham into line and direct him to work with unions as he prepares a restructure that threatens 600 jobs.

They are furious that Graham has released details of the proposed merger of State Rail Authority with the Rail Infrastructure Corporation direct to the media prior to presenting them to unions, in direct breach of undertakings Costa made when taking over as Transport Minister.

Rail Tram and Bus Union state secretary Nick Lewocki says unions are witnessing a 'softening-up period' where he is floating the need for major job cuts through the media.

"This is very destablising," Lewocki says. "This industry has been pulled apart that many times it's a joke. Workers don't know what the future is and they ring the union and we can't tell them because we are not being told what's going on. We demand that the Minister pull this guy into line."

Professional staff are also concerned, APESMA's Phil Marchionni saying his members feel the rail industry has become a 'political football'.

"The men and women employed in the NSW Rail family labour stoically to provide a high level of service," Marchionni says. "Too often they are let down by inadequate funding, frequent restructuring and ill-informed commentary.

Australian Services Union president Sally McManus, responsible for station staff says her members are yet to be convinced that Vince Graham is prepared to work with the unions in a truly consultative manner.

"His actions to date have demonstrated a lack of preparedness to consult Unions with vital information on restructure working parties," McManus says. "Six hundred jobs are at stake.":

"The Minister needs to understand that if there is not proper consultation, the unions may be left with no option other than to pursue our collective interests.

"If this occurs, NSW rail users might find themselves facing a long hot summer of discontent if their train services are disrupted by our industrial action/"

NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson has called for an urgent meeting with the Minister. "All I know is that if the Minister was in his former position he would expect nothing less than a Minister of a Labor Government committing to consult with the unions."


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