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Issue No. 198 03 October 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

The Monk Off Our Back
It should come as no surprise that Tony Abbott has been dragged from his workplace relations portfolio just as his $60 million assault on the CFMEU finally unravels.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: No Ifs, No Butts
Rugby League Professionals Association president Tony Butterfield on his battle to deliver a collective agreement for NRL players.

Unions: National Focus
In this month’s national wrap: Noel Hester meets a heavy hitter talking up open source unionism, truckies front the suits at Boral’s AGM, tales of corporate bastardry and Medicare birthday revelry.

Industrial: Fools Gold
Unions have thrashed out a string of protocols with the NSW Labor Government. Some, now, are questioning whether they are worth the cheap, imported paper they are written on, reports Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Bones of Contention
Byron Bay chicken boners have nominated thier boss for a Tony after seeing their entitlements plucked.

History: The Gong Show
In late September the South Coast Labour Council (SCLC) celebrated 75 unbroken years championing the rights of workers in the coastal Illawarra region 80 kilometres south of Sydney, writes Rowan Cahill.

Politics: The Hawke Legacy
The election of the Hawke Labor government twenty years ago holds some salient lessons for today’s Labor Party, writes Troy Bramston.

International: Sick Nation
As Australia celebrates 20 years of Medicare’s universal health coverage the crisis facing American workers in need of medical care is a useful reminder of what we’ve got – and what we stand, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Closed Minds
Philip Mendes looks at the political influence of right-wing think tanks, their financial backing and asks why the left hasn’t been able to get its ideas out there.

Review: Mixing Pop and Politics
He's had relations, with girls from many nations... but Billy Bragg seems to like us Aussies as much or even more than any of the others, writes Pádraig Collins.

Poetry: One Size Fits All
There once was a man from the Lodge - Who tried hard, our poems, to dodge... Resident bard David Peetz is back!

N E W S

 Concrete Boot for Democracy

 Picketers Get Blue Ribbon Result

 ICAC Call at Mudgee Abattoir

 Telstra on Charges

 Unis Walk Over Federal Bullying

 IRC Shoots Rooster that Quacked

 Ugly Australian Riles Timorese

 Medicare Gets Abbott For Birthday

 Business Council Opposes Salary Vote

 Rail Workers Call For Self Defence

 ACT Leads On Industrial Manslaughter

 Thumbs-Up for Awards Binding Subbies

 Entitlements Crash into Hangar

 Blackouts on NSW Horizon

 State Govt Told To Clean Up Contracts

 Would-be Presidents Face Union Probe

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

Postcard
North By Northwest
Phil Doyle returns from up north, where he survived on nothing but goodwill, good people and a great big orange bus.

The Soapbox
The $140 Million Patriot
It would be hard to imagine a steeper slide from hero to zero than the experience of Richard Grasso, the now-deposed head of the New York Stock Exchange. writes Jim Stanford.

Media
Bush's Bad News Blues
The Bush Administration is cooking up a new campaign 'to shine light on progress made in Iraq', writes Bill Berkowitz.

The Locker Room
A Tale Of One City
Phil Doyle gazes into the crystal ball for signs of life, and finds that somewhere the horses are running in the wrong direction.

Culture
With Banners Furled
There is no better account of the glory that was the annual Labour Day marches than that given by Kylie Tennant in Foveaux, her fictional account of life in inner Sydney in 1912, the year she was born.

Politics
The Westie Wing
Our favourite Macquarie Street MP, Ian West MLC, reports on the world of NSW politics.

Postcard
The Cancun Wash-Up
The dramatic collapse of the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, last month has been followed by a deafening quiet from Geneva, Brussels and Washington, writes Peter Murphy.

L E T T E R S
 A Hard Act To Follow
 Which Boss?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

State Govt Told To Clean Up Contracts


Contractor greed is being blamed for school cleaners getting unrealistic workloads and cleaners are calling on the NSW Government to resolve the issue.

"Cleaning needs a proper amount of time to complete," says school cleaner Sylvia Cullen of Goulburn. "There is not enough time to do a proper job. The cleaners are dedicated and are pushing themselves to complete the job."

"Workers comp claims are up in schools because of people pushing themselves. They're stressed because they can't do their job. [the cleaning] is less of a standard than what it should be."

Cullen, who spoke to Workers Online prior to addressing the NSW ALP State Conference over the October long weekend, believes that the contractors are taking short cuts and pocketing the difference.

She has also called for the proper equipment to be supplied to "do the job properly".

Cullen, a single mother, works shifts from 2am to 6am at the Goulburn Police Academy and backs up for a shift from 1.30pm to 6.30pm at Mulwaree High School in Goulburn.

With the Government Cleaning Contract up for renewal before next year's

Budget the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Employees Union (LHMU) is pressing the government over purchasing policy, especially in relation to the allocation of government contracts.

The cleaners are demanding no more cuts to hours, security in the job if a different contractor comes in, the ability to transfer of entitlements where the contractor changes, retention of the sick leave safety net for former government employed cleaners and ufficient equipment and supplies to do the job properly.

A motion in support of the government cleaners to be debated at the NSW ALP Conference has already drawn support from ALPfigures.

"The least we as a Labor government can do is to take on board the

representations of the LHMU and agree to the cleaners' modest requests," says ALP MLC Ian West.


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