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Issue No. 194 05 September 2003  

Relatively Speaking
At its heart, political debate has always been a struggle between competing views about how a society should organise itself to maximise the benefits for the majority of its citizens.


Interview: Crowded Lives
Labor frontbencher Lindsay Tanner talks us through his new book on the importance of relationships and why politics is letting the people down.

Activists: Life With Brian
Work by men like Brian Fitzpatrick is exposing new Australians to old truths. Jim Marr reports

Industrial: National Focus
A showdown looms in Cancun, Qantas gets bolshie, casual and lazy in its response to aviation challenges, and long festering disputes fester on in Victoria and Tasmania reports Noel Hester in this national wrap.

Unions: If These Walls Could Talk
Trades Hall is preparing for a major facelift but first, Jim Marr reports, it must bid farewell to the colourful bunch who have populated its dusty corridors in recent years.

Economics: Beating the Bastards
Frank Stilwell looks at some of the proposals for building a fairer finance sector.

Media: Three Corners
So its come to this. Four Corners, one of the world's longest running television programs is now under pressure from an ABC Executive that is less cultural visionary than feral abacus.

History: The Brisbane Line
Percy Spender was Menzies' foreign minister, but, Neale Towart asks, was he also prepared to serve as Prime Minister in a Japanese controlled Australia?

Trade: The Dumping Problem
Oxfam-CAA helps set the scene for this month's World Trade Organisation in Cancun.

Review: Frankie's Way
In The Night We Called It A Day Frank Sinatra learns 'sorry' Down Under is a loaded word and refusal to say it when due will lose fans in important places, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Truckies Tip Safety on AGM Floor

 Geelong Lockout Claims Family Homes

 Aussie Labour Laws Fail US Test

 No Accident � Insurance Dough Rises

 Union Mum Wins

 Rheem Runs Cold On Entitlements

 Unions Take It Up for Footballers

 Drug Boss Fails Workers

 Ministers Urged to Take Responsibility

 Museum Jobs Face Extinction

 Less News And More Of It

 Legal Costs Threaten Access

 Learning for Life

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Staking Our Territory
ACTU secretary Greg Combet argued for a fairer Australia in his keynote address to last month's ACTU Congress.

The Locker Room
Seasonally Agisted
Spring is a season when a person�s thoughts turn to�horse racing. Phil Doyle reports on the fate of nags and folk heroes.

Beyond the Block
We are wild about the people who live in The Block but not too interested in those who are on the streets outside, writes Michael Rafferty.

The Westie Wing
Workers friend Ian West MLC, reports form the Bearpit about a project to raise awareness about trade unionism amongst young people.

The Awkward Squad
Paul Smith meets one of the new generation of British union leaders who is taking the ball up to the Blair spin team.

 Lyon Roars
 Spicey and Tart
 Tony and Pauline
 PNG Bags Plastic
 Fighting Words Craig Emerson
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Rheem Runs Cold On Entitlements

Millions of dollars in accrued entitlements are on the line as Rheem plays hard ball in EBA negotiations. Workers, including one with 43 years of service to the Aussie icon, are dismayed by the company�s attempt to dodge its responsibilities to protect employee entitlements

In a bizarre twist the company, headed up by Human Resources manager and Australian Industry Group (AIG) board member Peter Ross, is only prepared to guarantee workers' entitlements once its cash reserves have evaporated.

Rheem has been using the pattern bargaining tactic of the AIG in locking out workers for 24 hours after every one hour stop work meeting by the company.

"All we want is a fair go," says Rheem employee James Addo. "We are worried about entitlements."

Addo told the NSW Labor Council that the company had offered to supply its own auditor, a move that Rheem employees were wary of.

"We haven't forgotten what happened at Wellcome,' says Addo, referring to the company whose close relationship with its auditor concealed fundamental financial problems.

Rheem, who are believed to have capitalisation of $167 million, have said that they will look at protecting employee entitlements if their capital value sinks below $79 million

"Here is a boss who says 'I will give you want when I've run out of money'," says Addo.

The 320 employees at Rheem have been attempting to negotiate an EBA for the last three months. The company's aggressive AIG tactics have seen employees locked out on more than eight occasions. Rheem has refused point blank to negotiate on the issue of entitlements.

The lockouts have caused considerable hardship for Rheem employees and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) has called for support for the locked out workers and their picket line at Rheem Rydalmere.

"The workers at Rheem have every right to be worried,' says NSW MLC Peter Primrose. "Rheem has refined its union bashing tactics."

AMWU State Secretary Paul Bastian has called for immediate reform of laws allowing employers to lock out workers rather than negotiate in good faith.


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