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Issue No. 192 22 August 2003  

Flexing the Muscles
If there was an over-riding mood from this week’s ACTU Congress it was one of pent-up energy, as if the time was fast approaching where the sleeping giant that is the Australian workforce must wake from its slumber.


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.


 Kids Win From Building Stoush

 Airline Bombs Staff

 Socialists Give Banks a Kicking

 Workers Bag Leave Entitlements

 Bosses Keep the Merc

 Canberra Off The Rails

 Australia in Terrorists’ Sights

 Labor Pledges Taskforce Fight

 Unions Go Back To School

 Yumaro Shows The Way To Go

 Rheem Taps into Lock Out Pattern

 100 Stranded in Bass Strait

 Call Centre Workers Cash In

 If It Looks Like A Duck...

 Stellar Dials an Ernie

 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.

 Misplaced Trust
 A Harsh Lesson
 Axe The Max
 India On A Dollar A Day
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Kids Win From Building Stoush

CFMEU industrial action has secured $815,000 for North Sydney Council to spend on childcare and other community facilities.

Mayor Genia McCaffrey attended a meeting of building worker delegates this week to thank them for blocking a challenge to community levies flagged by upmarket developer, Platino Properties.

"The developer has withdrawn the Section 94 case and is paying the levy, thanks to the support of the CFMEU," McCaffrey reported.

"This was not just the action of an individual developer. It was to have been a test case for the property industry which wants to get rid of Section 94 levies.

"If it wasn't for the intervention of the union our council would have found itself in court, and, unfortunately, court cases can be a lottery.

"The CFMEU met the developer and put him on notice that if he didn't pay up he would face strike action."

Platino Properties went public, two weeks ago, with its intention to challenge the legality of community levies, struck by councils around NSW to finance such things as parks, childcare centres, libraries and, in the case of North Sydney, low-cost rental housing.

Section 94 levies are advertised and publicly exhibited before being voted on as part of council procedure. Once adopted, funds have to be directed to earmarked projects.

The charges are levied on commerical developments, on the basis of the number of rooms, or sites, being constructed.

The North Sydney mayor said Platino's objection to the $815,000 levy on its multi-unit development at Milson's Pt was a threat to local government services, across the state.

"Without a significant increase in rates, councils could not cope with delivering the services we are required to without them," she said.

CFMEU members struck for 24 hours on the Platino Properties site before giving the company seven days to pay the levy. Seven days later, Platino confirmed it was withdrawing its action in the Land and Environment court.

Workers Online understands NSW Local Government Association president, Sara Murray, is writing to both the CFMEU and Labor Council, thanking them for supporting the levy.

CFMEU secretary, Andrew Ferguson, said his organisation was pleased to be able to assist the community.

"It's a continuation of the Green Ban tradition of the 1970s," he said. "In this case, using union strength to help big developers face up to some of their social reponsibilities."

A guest at last week's CFMEU delegates meeting was former BLF secretary, Jack Mundey, the man who led the famous Green Bans credited with saving much of NSW's urban heritage.

Mundey was on hand to receive a Gold Badge for service to building workers.


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