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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

Pressures Lead To Truckie Deaths


A fatal collision of two cars and two trucks on the Pacific Highway near Macksville has sparked an urgent call for WorkCover to launch immediate investigations into truck fatalities on NSW roads.

In the 12 months to October last year there was a 30% increase in the number of people killed in truck accidents on NSW roads.

"Unless more is done to reduce the pressures and demands being placed on truck drivers to met impossible client deadlines at the cheapest possible price, however, we face the grim prospect of even more deaths this year," NSW Transport Worker's Union State Secretary Tony Sheldon said today.

Driver fatigue continues to be identified as the major cause in almost 25% of truck related accidents. 30% of drivers working in the long distance industry consistently report they resort to illegal stimulant use to stay awake behind the wheel.

"Transport industry clients continue to force drivers to work longer, harder and faster to meet their impossible demands, taking no care or responsibility for what is happening on our roads. At the worst end of the industry, even some prominent industry operators, are actively encouraging drivers to breach driving hours, speed and resort to illegal stimulant use."

"To reduce the number of people being killed in truck accidents on our roads WorkCover needs to immediately commence an investigation into [the Macksville] accident and all other fatal truck accidents on our roads."

Recommendations to adopt an enforceable code of practice for the industry including, sustainable rates of pay, and chain of responsibility provisions to make clients accountable also need to be implemented.

The news comes as North Coast councils, politicians and communities are to lobby the Federal Government for funding to fast-track upgrading of the Pacific Highway.

Coffs Harbour Mayor Jenny Bonfield says the double fatality just north of Macksville highlights how dangerous the road has become.

"We need this highway done up immediately," says Bonfield. "It's a disaster."


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