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Issue No. 191 15 August 2003  

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.


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.


 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


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.

 Tom’s Tool
 Neighbourhood Watch
 MUA CD Launch
 The Remittance Man
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Bosses Grab Massive Pay Hikes

Australian chief executives pocketed 38 percent salary increases last year, taking average remuneration to 89 times the minimum adult wage prescribed by the Howard Government.

Those discrepancies are well above international averages, provoking ACTU delegates to consider demanding limits, along with increased accountability.

Eight hundred worker representatives will debate wide-ranging measures to beef-up corporate accountability at the ACTU's triennial congress in Melbourne this week, including calls for improved disclosure of executive pay.

They will vote on a draft policy requiring corporations to come clean of executive payments at shareholders meetings by reporting details and how those figures relate to company performance.

Other key demands include greater rights for beneficial owners, including super funds, and measures to ,,,

ensure the independence of directors, analysts and auditors

restrict the exercise of options

improve protections for corporate whistleblowers

remove corporate tax deductibility on salaries of more than $1 million

increase penalties for breaches of directors duties

increase personal liability for damages by directors responsible for losses through breaches of their responsibilities.

ACTU statistics reveal that, outside Australia, chief executive earnings average out at 11 times the legal minimum adult wage.

Other key policy areas for debate, during congress, come under the general headings - Future of Work, Work and Family, Future Strategies and Youth

The ACTU is seeking endorsement for its plan to run a Test Case that would bring an immediate 25 percent increase to thousands of 20-year-olds. In supporting affiliates, chipping away at youth rates, the ACTU will argue for 20 year olds to receive full adult pay rates.

Casualisation, highlighted by the NSW Labor Council's Secure Employment Test Case, will be another focus of the union gathering.

Latest statistics reveal that more than a quarter of Australian workers now survive in casual or part-time work, with 80 percent of jobs created in the past decade paying less than $26,000 a year.

Casual employment, without security or entitlements, is increasingly becoming regular and fulltime. Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott, told Parliament earlier this year, that more than 50 percent of the millions of casual employed in Australia had worked regularly, for more than a year, with the same employer.

Organising, campaigning, lobbying, negotiating and taking legal action are canvassed in proposals for dealing with the explosion in casual hire, contracting out and labour hire.


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