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Issue No. 201 31 October 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Criminal Logic
It has taken the tragic death of 16-year-old Joel Exner to focus public opinion on laws that allow an employer guilty of killing a worker to get off paying a measly $1800.

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

 It's Official - Life Worth $1800

 Bank Fesses-Up on Robbery

 Corrigan Straddles Robot

 Striking Guards Beat Chubb

 Killer Company Cuts And Runs

 Call Centre Loses Its Sensis

 Greens Set to Bowl Workers’ Homes

 The RSL With No Beer

 Law Rewritten To Get Workers’ Cash

 Pressures Lead To Truckie Deaths

 Soup Kitchen Signals Bleak Future For TAFE

 Art For Workers Sake

 Carr Sweeps Cleaners Off Their Feet

 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
 Child Labor
 Industrial Manslaughter
 The Miracle Of Tom
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Striking Guards Beat Chubb


Two Chubb Security Guards, sacked after walking off the job during a three-year campaign to improve "Third World" conditions at Newcastle railway station, have won an unfair dismissal case.

Amenities for more than 20 security guards consisted of a bus shelter with a public toilet attached. Their drinking fountain was often urinated in, and the area was littered with syringes and beer bottles, leading to workers declaring the situation to be a health and safety risk.

William Telisczak and James Munday were singled out by Chubb and sacked after leading the campaign to improve amenities.

"The amenities were filthy, there was no other word for it," says Munday. "It sends a message to employers that they can't treat people like garbage."

Munday believes the outcome also sends a message to workers experiencing sub-standard conditions.

"You don't have to put up with it."

WorkCover issued an improvement notice early last year, and Chubb claimed to have purchased a demountable shed for the guards, but the alleged shed never appeared.

"The employees requests were reasonable," says David McElrea, an Industrial Officer from the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Employees Union (LHMU). "Chubb never did anything until [the workers] took industrial action.

"This shows that you can take action to improve your conditions and the union will back you up."

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) described their lack of amenities as "a continuing and unacceptable situation".

"How can State Rail expect our people to continue working with the high morale needed in this stressful job when management and Chubb know about the conditions in the facilities they provide, they do nothing - but the guards get punished for striking," says Newcastle LHMU Secretary, Carmel Cook. "They were punishing the victim - rather than resolving the crux of the problem and showing a bit of respect to decent workers."

The AIRC found that Chubb did not have grounds for dismissing the guards and that it was a harsh, unjust and unreasonable course of action.

"At the time of the walkout the security guards were stood down after hundreds of union members walked off the job just before Easter, angry about the lack of amenities - and angry that after years of promises nothing had happened," says Cook.

Each of the sacked security guards has been awarded 10 weeks wages. Disgusted with the way they had been treated none of them wanted to be reinstated into their jobs.


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