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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

Tax Office "Bites" Its Own


The ATO is ordering 800 front-line workers to undergo psychological testing and reapply for their own jobs, in the wake of being forced to make casual positions permanent.

CPSU Tax Office secretary, Shane O'Connell, linked the developments, describing the ATO edict to the mainly female section of its workforce, most of whom earn around $35,000 a year, as "bite back".

"Telling these people to reapply for their own jobs is insulting, wasteful and hurtful," he said. "It is bite back.

"The ATO was unhappy about having to make more than 200 processing workers permanent after keeping them on as casuals.

"We sat down with them only two weeks ago for what they call a corporate briefing. They never mentioned this at all."

The CPSU won ATO agreement to advertise 236 permanent operations positions after taking the status of long-term "casuals" before the IRC.

It has expressed particular concern about the "psychological" element of the office's latest proposal.

"There are a lot of very upset workers out there," O'Connell said. "Many have been with the ATO for more than 10 years and go through rigorous performance assessments. To suddenly be told you may not be the sort of person the ATO wants is deeply affronting.

"Based on this pointless and wasteful exercise, you would have to say it is not this section of the Tax Office that needs its head read."

O'Connell said recent ATO selection processes had cost the organisation between $2000 and $4000 a person. He estimated putting existing operations staff through additional applications, and psychological tests, could cost millions.


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