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Issue No. 195 12 September 2003  

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


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.


 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


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.

 Life Wasn’t Meant To Be Frankie
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Five Grand Extra for Unionists

Union members around Australia are earning around $100 a week, more than non-union counterparts, latest Government statistics reveal.

Figures released by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations for the three months to June, show the gap between union and non-union agreements continuing to widen.

Significantly, Australians on Minister Tony Abbott's preferred individual contracts getting increases averaging one percent less than those on collective agreements.

The Federal Government has poured millions of dollars into its Office of the Employment Advocate to promote lower-paying AWA individual contracts to employers.

ACTU secretary, Greg Combet, said statistical support for the core trade union claim to deliver on wages should surprise nobody.

"Unions work hard to achieve better deals for their members and wage outcomes are evidence of their success," Combet said.

"Individual contracts that people are forced onto are basically written by the employer. Centrelink's not a bad example - where the Howard Government tried to impose a non-union agreement on staff and there was a long campaign and in a ballot, the Government's non-union deal was voted down.

"Ultimately, the union agreement was concluded with a good increase. Where people are union members and they bargain together they get good outcomes."

Wage increases rose by 4.4 percent, across the board, in the three months to June with significant increases in the in the more highly unionised public sector leading the way.

Centrelink workers, after beating off the non-union proposal, settled on 5.2 percent.

The average annual increase in the latest figures jumped to 4.4 percent, up from 3.5 percent in the March quarter.

That average was held back, however, by workers on non-union agreements only being able to average 3.4 percent. Their average annual wage is now approximately $5200 a year behind that of union members.

The June quarter figures covered more than 1.5 million Australians employed under federal agreements.


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