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Issue No. 204 21 November 2003  

Holes in the Net
The Medicare debate may be clouded by the minutae of the health delivery system, but it really boils down to an old-fashioned ideological battle between user-pays and state responsibility.


Interview: Union for the Dispossessed
The Welfare Rights Centre's Michael Raper on 20 years of activism, the politics of punishment and how to make Australia egalitarian again.

Unions: Joel's Law
Building Workers have overcome powerful forces to push workplace safety back up the national agenda. But, Jim Marr writes, their "success" has come at an unacceptable cost.

National Focus: Spring Carnival
It must be spring: punting in Victoria, singing in South Australia, fighting in America. It’s all there in the national wrap from Noel Hester plus an Australian union movement rugby world cup class consciousness poll.

Bad Boss: Fina and Fiends
They sacked the job delegate, reinstated him after an IRC hearing, and sacked him again two weeks later. But that was just the beginning.

Industrial: The Price of War
Mass industrial action is brewing in Israel as the policies of the right-wing Sharon Government come home to roost, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Who's Got What
Frank Stilwell pours over the latest BRW Rich List to build a picture of the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots.

History: Containing Discontent
Racism against minorities has always been a stock in trade of politicans, writes Phil Griffiths

Review: An Honourable Wally
Most Australians probably look at our politicians and feel they could do a better job but when redundant meatworker Wally Norman gets the chance to find out he realises getting elected is a major hurdle, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Colours of Discontent
A thousand blossoms bloomed during the US President's spring-time colonial visit last month.


 US Giant Attacks Aussies

 Exposed – OEA in Kids Scandal

 Left-Right Flattens Abigroup

 ANZ Cops Fine Over Robbers

 Classroom Stoush Gets Personal

 Seven Workers Pass "Intelligence" Test

 Stop Press: Coal Strike

 Nurses: MedicarePlus Points to America

 ‘Joel’s Law’ Gathers Momentum

 Skilled Picketers Confront Patrick’s

 Yahoo Censors Union Ad

 Labor’s Cotter Court ‘Faking’ It

 TAFE Puts Best Foot Forward

 Wharfies, Actors, Seafarers Unite

 Debus Gives Up On Lawyers Picnic

 Nelson Backdown Not Enough

 Online Pay Check



The Soapbox
Bush's Faith-Filled Life
The President's conversion, 'sense of divine calling' and struggle with sobriety are subjects of a forthcoming book, writes Bill Berkowitz

The Not So Smart Money
Phil Doyle is sick of big money ruining grass roots sport, and he’s taking his bat and going home.

The Westie Wing
The ongoing challenge for Labor members of parliament is to make what the Premier calls the ‘creative partnership’ between the Government and the union movement a reality, writes our favourite MP Ian West.

Behind the Junta
Saw Min Lwin, Secretary for Trade Union Rights/ Human Rights for the Federation of Trade Unions Burma (FTUB), outlines the struggle for workers in his country.

 Jack Lives Here
 Saving Jobs
 Public Transport A Bit Rich
 The Smirker
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Labor’s Cotter Court ‘Faking’ It

Mayor Barry Cotter and supporters on Marrickville Council have been labeled "Labor fakers" after a court found the municipality guilty on 10 charges of "labour theft".

Marrickville was fined $500 on each charge and ordered to pay costs to the Development and Environmental Professionals Association (depa), after the IRC, in court session, found it had failed to abide by award requirements in changing rosters, for new staff, from a nine-day fortnight to a 19-day month.

Association secretary, Ian Robertson, said the most disappointing thing had been the refusal of one-time Labor Leftist and union official, Cotter, to discuss the issue.

"Comrade Cotter and the other Labor fakers on this council refuse, point-blank, to talk to trade unions," Robertson said. "This should have been sorted out a year ago but they washed their hands of it.

"We think it is a bit of a shame that it is now easier to pay for a root in a Marrickville lounge room than to talk with the Labor Mayor or caucus.

"Not only were they breaching the award but, we discovered, they had been rostering new staff on longer daily hours, thereby committing what the ACTU appropriately described in the Reasonable Hours Test Case as labour theft."

The Association filed 10 prosecutions for award breaches on June 26. Marrickville Council pleaded guilty to all counts but argued there should be no penalty for stripping back the award conditions.

A current council employee, who successfully applied for a new position, gave evidence that he wanted to retain his nine-day roster. He said he approached the council about its failure to put the changed hours before its own consultative committee, as required by the award, but the council maintained it was not obliged to consult.

Justice Russell Peterson accepted the argument that Marrickville had "either closed its eyes or was reckless in relation to the breach".

Robertson told Workers Online, Marrickville was still insisting on its "absolute right" to change rosters and this "substantive issue" had been set down for a separate IRC hearing.


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