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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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Workers Bag Leave Entitlements

Long service leave and other employment rights would become the property of workers rather than their boss, under ground-breaking policy adopted at this week’s ACTU Congress.

Delegates endorsed a platform that recognises portability of entitlements as an objective of all enterprise agreements, meaning workers could pool leave over a number of different jobs.

The policy is seen as a key way that casual and short term workers can acquire the right to long-term leave and career breaks, a right full-time workers automatically accrue after ten years.

Under the ACTU proposal workers who change jobs within ten years would be able to take the accrued leave with them, keeping it a trust fund. After ten years in the workforce, they would be able too draw on the leave.

In a rare show of unity the AMWU and AWU co-sponsored a series of Amendments to the Wages and Collective Bargaining Policy and the Employee Entitlements Policy.

Congress heard a variety of reports highlighting the growing proportion of workers with no access to any paid sick or holiday leave. The extension of portability schemes to various industry sectors is now part of the broader push by unions to establish new family friendly employment standards that assist workers in a deregulated environment.

Service to an industry rather than an individual employer is now being seen as a necessary response to the flexibility of employment that is now an unwanted but inherent part of today's labour market.

CEO of the National Entitlements Security Trust Andrew Whiley applauded the new direction.

"NEST has the capacity to administer diverse sector and industry based portability schemes," Whiley says. "We have a state of the art platform for unions and employers to use in developing such schemes."

"As a non-profit national Trust Fund we are well placed to advise and assist industrial parties in negotiating the introduction of such schemes."

"Portability schemes are well suited for industries with seasonal or cyclical work patterns, high use of labour hire, and service industries with regular turnover of contracts or high labour mobility." Mr Whiley said.

Whiley says the construction industry provides a good example of how well run portability schemes with joint employer and employee participation and governance can benefit all parties"


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