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Issue No. 191 15 August 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Three Year Itch
The triennial ACTU Congress meeting Melbourne this week comes at the most difficult of times for the union movement, as the horror prospect of seven years of conservative government becomes an ongoing reality.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 Public Backs Services Over Tax Cuts

 Seafarer Awards – Full Steam Ahead

 Sunnybrand Plucks Workers

 Call Centre Stink Over Time in Loo

 Reynolds Banks on Safety

 Workers To Back League Stars

 Witnesses Line Up for Test Case

 Unfair Legislation Dismissal

 Tax Office "Bites" Its Own

 Bosses Grab Massive Pay Hikes

 IR Staff Walk Over Job Cuts

 Government Kills Manslaughter Bill

 Rail Workers Spitting Mad

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

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.

Education
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.

Postcard
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.

L E T T E R S
 Tom’s Tool
 Neighbourhood Watch
 MUA CD Launch
 Trainspotting
 The Remittance Man
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Workers To Back League Stars


Trade union members who love rugby league could be mobilised to back NRL stars seeking a collective agreement for all professional players.

NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson this week flagged the prospect of unionists taking action in support of league players after the newly unionised players met to kick off negotiations for an enterprise agreement.

"We saw when South Sydney was under threat the important role the fans of the game played," Robertson says. "Many of those fans are trade unionists who would back the players in against their employer."

The Rugby League Professional Association is working through the Labor Council to negotiate the agreement, with deputy assistant secretary Chris Christodoulou assigned to manage negotiations.

A group of senior players including Brad Fittler, Gordon Tallis, Brett Kimmorley and Trent Barrett have committed to attending regular meetings to drive the agreement.

Fittler told media this week that after several attempts over the last decade to secure a collective agreement, players were determined to see the process through.

"This is not about me, it is about the young guys coming into the game," Fittler said. "It's been a number of years now, we've tried to put players associations together and they've all failed, and it's only been because there's been no strength behind the players. We believe we've got the strength now."

RLPA president and former Newcastle Knight Tony Butterfield says it is important that the game's leading players have taken a leadership role in negotiations.

"The leading players have made a conscious decision to work as a group to improve the wages and conditions for all players," Butterfield says.

Key issues on the table include clarification of the salary cap issue; player education and welfare and intellectual property rights.


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