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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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Socialists Give Banks a Kicking

Latest superannuation figures undermine Government moves to cut banks and financial planners into workers’ retirement nest eggs.

As the Howard administration tries to undermine industry super funds by the back door, the latest performance analysis shows trade union-backed industry funds wiping the floor with with private enterprise competitors.

New figures from Super Ratings reveal that, in the five years to June 30, every one of Australia's 10 top-performing super schemes was an industry fund.

The average industry fund returned 5.5 percent a year, nearly double the 3 percent margin for retail funds and master trusts.

Leading business commentator, Alan Kohler, summed up the implications, this week, in a column headed "Socialists beat capitalists - by about $100bn".

"There's an awkward secret at the centre of Australia's superannuation system: the socialists are winning," Kohler wrote.

"Looked at another way, the failure of Australia's banks and private master trusts to beat the union-linked industry funds on investment performance is close to being a national scandal. Those people being herded into retail funds by their employers are losing a fortune because their trustees are not making the decisions that count."

Yet Federal Government, paranoid about the size and success of industry funds, has moved again to open them to contestability.

After repeated failure to get enabling legislation through the Senate, Canberra is now moving to change the rules by regulation, something the Labor Party has pledged to fight.

Industry funds not only offer better returns but significantly cheaper entry and administration fees.

Union industry funds representatives fear those facts will be drowned, if Government has its way, as banks and other financial institutions pour millions of dollars into glossy advertising campaigns.

"It's rather ironic," Kohler writes "when you consider the main concern in the late 1980s and early 1990s when (Paul) Keating and (Bill) Kelty were extending the nanny state to savings was that the union-dominated funds would either by hopeless or waste our money on socialist causes."

Meanwhile, the ACTU has flagged a campaign to eventually lift employer super contributions to 15 percent.

The "superannuation safety net" policy will kick off with job-by-job demands for contributions to be raised from nine to 10 percent in the next round of enterprise bargaining.

ACTU delegates endorsed the campaign at last week's triennial conference in Melbourne.


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