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Issue No. 197 26 September 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Coming to the Party
The coming NSW ALP State Conference marks an important moment in the changing relationship between the political and industrial wings of the Party.

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

 Violence: Rail Workers' Hot Spray

 Corporate "Branch Stack" in Court

 Entitlements: Ball in Carrís Court

 Asbestos Prospect for Home Buyers

 "Stand Over" Claims at Hilton

 US: Iraq on the Block

 Sheeps Of Shame

 Teachers Applaud TAFE Backdown

 Council Delays Sweat Shop Action

 Monk Aims Muscle at Unis

 Cobar Beats Off CBH Assault

 Sign Here For Reconciliation

 Workers Denied Home Loans

 Casual Approach No Holiday

 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 personís thoughts turn toÖhorse 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
 The Clown and the Magician.
 Shorter Hours
 A Sick War
 Taxi!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

"Stand Over" Claims at Hilton


Leightons Contractors have been accused of "standover tactics" on a Sydney hotel site plagued by massive health and safety problems.

CFMEU assistant secretary, Brian Parker, leveled the charge, saying the head contractor had "stood over" more than a dozen sub-contractors, insisting they didnít pay hundreds of workers stood down after Workcover halted the Hilton Hotel redevelopment.

About one quarter of the workforce voted to return to cleaned-up areas of the Hilton, last Thursday, but general prohibition orders, including one forbidding work from progressing on floors 27 to 43, mean most employees are still off-site pending remedial action.

The presence of asbestos, synthetic mineral fibres, carcinogenic timber, silicone dust and questions over structural integrity, formwork and scaffolding have seen the NSW safety authority write out seven notices, including four prohibition orders.

Parker says when workers are forced off site by health and safety concerns they should be paid.

The CFMEU has made an application to the IRC for lost time payments and says Tony Abbott's much-hyped Building Industry Taskforce hasn't been seen at the Hilton.

Leightons says last week's shut down was an illegal stoppage by the CFMEU but conceded, before the IRC, the union had followed the safety disputes settlement procedure outlined in the project award.

"They admit, on transcript, we followed the procedure from A to G," Parker said. "And there is no F.

"But still the workers are not being paid and that is a big problem. Leightons have warned sub-contractors they could be prosecuted for paying employees for lost time and, we are told, have said it could be held against them on future Government jobs.

"It is not a fair go. Our people are willing, they are available to work, but not in unsafe conditions."

Around 400 building workers are employed by Leightons and a range of contractors at the Hilton. Parker estimates it could take another fortnight before remedial work means it is safe for full work to resume.

Meanwhile, the CFMEU will put eight boxes of evidence, ignored by the controversial Cole Royal Commission, before a Senate inquiry into the construction industry.

The union says the evidence points to employer wrongdoing, including incidents of corruption.


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