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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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Labor Pledges Taskforce Fight

The Labor Party will fight anti-worker changes to the building industry stemming from the Cole Commission, including Tony Abbott’s centrepiece proposal for a permanent Taskforce.

Workplace Relations Shadow, Craig Emerson, gave that assurance to ACTU congress delegates in an address which argued the $60 million Cole Royal Commission was a political witch-hunt.

"Labor will oppose Tony Abbott's provocative, one-sided legislation scheduled for parliament next month, because we see no fairness in singling out workers in one industry for a harsh and oppressive set of rules that go well beyond what applies to the rest of the workforce," Emerson said.

"Australians have every reason to fear that the Howard Government has in mind not a watch dog but an attack dog - a coercive regulator, programmed with this Government's ideological values, intruding on the scene to inflame disputes."

Emerson argued that the only passage to change in the building industry was "co-operative reforms" that involved state governments, employers, relevant unions and the ACTU.

The Prime Minister, Emerson said, drew on embarrassing experiences of 25 years ago, with the Costigan Royal Commission, when, as Treasurer, he had to be dragged "kicking and screaming" before Parliament to legislate against rampant tax evasion, involving prominent Liberal Party supporters.

"Answer: a Royal Commission into unions, but one that is heavily biased - a Royal Commission into the building industry with skewed terms of reference, a skewed commission with skewed inquiry processes.

"He didn't want a Royal Commission delving deeply into tax scams in the building industry.

"And the Government did not want to alarm employers, so Tony Abbott wrote a letter of comfort, providing an assurance that the Commission was not enquiring into any particular company, and that the focus of the inquiry would be on the unions," Emerson said.

He described the Workplace Relations Minister as a "zealot" for handing over taxpayer money to anti-CFMEU witnesses convicted of dishonesty and described by a judge as "reprehensible" and "deceitful".

Labor, he pledged, would not allow Abbott to use construction industry legislation as a beach head for a second wave of industrial changes aimed at stripping away remaining protections for all Australian workers.


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