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Issue No. 195 12 September 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Coalition of the Swilling
As the world stopped to mark the second anniversary of the September 11 attacks and its horrendous human toll, attempts at writing new rules for global trade were hitting their own immovable object

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 Teachers Attack National Stitch-Up

 Safety Off The Rails

 Lion King Delivers for Kids

 Five Grand Extra for Unionists

 Telstra Gets Curry for Take Aways

 WTO Trips on Cancun Hurdle

 Workers Kicking Goals

 Dial NRMA for Stuff-Up

 This Is Your Operator Freaking

 Millionaire Takes Candy from Carers

 Working Women Get New Voice

 Community Burns Rubber Giant

 Grass Roots Campaign Beats Bush

 Unions-Council Strike ‘Clean Hands’ Partnership

 Call For Campaign To Save Bush Trains

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

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.

Housing
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.

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

Postcard
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.

L E T T E R S
 Life Wasn’t Meant To Be Frankie
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Safety Off The Rails


Militant employer industrial tactics are putting the public at risk, with more than 120 carriages on the City Rail network overdue for safety audits.

Frustrated unions are now appealing over the head of NSW Transport Minister Michael Costa to senior Carr lieutenant Craig Knowles in a bid to end lockouts that are preventing workers undertaking vital braking and electronics checks.

Maintrain, owned by Gonninans, has locked more than 300 AMWU members out of their Auburn workshops 15 times since EBA negotiations stalled two months ago, compromising rolling stock maintenance.

Besides derailing the scheduled safety audits, the campaign has deferred key advances highlighted by the Waterfall Inquiry into the deaths of seven travelers last year.

Maintrain workers say the program to install Driver Vigilance Control Systems, designed as back-up to the dead man's brake, and black box software, has been put back.

AMWU assistant secretary, John Parkin, says Maintrain has reneged on Heads of Agreement, thrashed out two years ago under the chairmanship of former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, and that former Labor Council secretary, Costa, has refused to become involved - either as Minister in charge of the service or as a representative of the SRA, which was also party to the Hawke agreement.

Gonninans established Maintrain to cash in on Greiner Government plans to privatise NSW rail and its sole contract is with State Rail.

"They've gone back on the agreement not to make any forced redundancies," Parkin said.

"Every time we have a report back meeting, even with a small group, they lock out the entire shift. If we meet for an hour they lock everyone out for 24 hours.

"It's no wonder the maintanence program is behind schedule.

"We've been trying to get Costa to meet for months and he won't even talk to us about it. His Government is one of the signatories to the Heads of Agreement and the last time we looked, rail travel came under the heading of transport.

"It's ridiculous. Imagine if you or I didn't bother to register our car and said it was okay because we had last year's ticket. Trains are even more important because they put more people's lives at stake."

"Costa has to stop thinking like a boss and start thinking like someone who is responsible for public safety."

Labor Council assistant secretary, Mark Lennon, confirmed his organisation had also been brushed, on the issue, by its former top dog.

"We have been trying to organise a meeting with Minister Costa to no avail," Lennon admitted. "If we can't get the Minister of Transport to focus on it, let's see if we can get the Minister of Infrastructure."

Meanwhile, the AIG's pattern lockout tactic, is still being applied at Rheem where hundreds of workers trying to secure their entitlements are being locked out for 24 hours every time they meet to consider developments in negotiations.


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