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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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Airline Bombs Staff

Qantas has drawn the cone of silence over a flash new office block as it prepares for a knock-em-down, drag-em-out scrap with thousands of employees.

The company has put a six-month hold on its multi-million dollar development at Coward St, Botany, as it embarks on another round of cuts, marked by job losses, casualisation and the use of US-trained scabs.

Construction industry sources confirm that foundations have been laid at Coward St but that, in a highly unusual move, Quantas has put a halt to building work that might draw attention the development.

The move came just days before the airline backed a $352 million first half profit announcement with plans to slash jobs and employee security.

TWU baggage handlers struck this week when the company brought in labour hire employees from Blue Collar but were forced back to work by an AIRC order.

Qantas has announced that if will hire no further permanent baggage handlers and the ACTU says it has been notified that it wants up to 45 percent of its workforce on casual terms.

Next the airline announced a new, no-frills domestic carrier, opening the way to slash wages and use contract, part-time or casual staff.

Qantas chief executive, Geoff Dixon, has confirmed his intention to increase non-permanent labour to 25 percent of the company's workforce over the next two years.

Dixon would not deny his new IR regime would be underpinned by the use of strike breakers the company had trained in Los Angeles.

There have also been rumours of wage cuts backed by a strategy that would see Qantas play unions off against one another by offering a rails run to the one prepared to settle on lowest pay rates.

Unions see the baggage handlers' issue as the first step in Qantas moves to spread casual, insecure employment across a workforce that currently stands at 34,000 people.

ACTU secretary, Greg Combet, said increase casualisation would inflict lower living standards and deny staff a range of entitlements, including holiday pay and sick leave.


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