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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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Online Pay Check

Check Your Pay, Australia’s first online wages and entitlements calculator, was launched last week.

"Check Your Pay instantly calculates award pay rates and entitlements in jobs such as hairdressing, clerical, retail, restaurant and catering," says NSW Minister for Commerce, Mr Della Bosca. "This new service provides a quick, free and easy-to-use way to find out about correct pay rates and entitlements such as holidays and allowances.

"For young workers and those new to an industry, finding out exactly what you should be paid can be a challenge, but now it's just a few clicks away.

Using a simple question and answer format, Check Your Pay lets you:

identify award classifications

calculate minimum award pay rates

check pay against hours worked

develop timesheets with all allowances, penalties and loadings for a specific pay period, and

calculate holiday and long service leave.

"Check Your Pay covers the four most common sectors for workers employed under NSW awards," said Mr Della Bosca.

"These awards - clerical, restaurants and catering, retail and hairdressing - cover 50 per cent of the state's workers.

"Other awards will be added to Check Your Pay over time," he said.

Visit the Check Your Pay Website

No Way To No Pay

The launch of Check Your Pay coincides with the government's annual warning to employers and young workers about illegal work practices such as unpaid trials.

"Most employers do the right thing when taking on new staff, but a few do try to take advantage of naive and inexperienced workers by promising jobs after unpaid trial periods.

"Under NSW industrial laws, every worker must be paid proper wages for the work that they do. There is no such thing as an unpaid trial," he said.

In one example a casual shop assistant with a Sutherland florist was let go after a three-day "trial". After intervention by the Office of Industrial Relations, she recovered $162 in unpaid wages; while a South Coast transport worker who was put on for two weeks at a "trial rate" which was below the award and did not include overtime and leave entitlements - he recovered $461.

"Some amounts are substantial, but even when it's only a few dollars, the experience of being underpaid in your first job can be very disillusioning," said Mr Della Bosca.

"Trial work must not be confused with work experience, which is registered and run through an educational institution," he said.

The Minister warned that employers could face penalties of up to $10,000 for underpaying employees.

For information on Check Your Pay, or assistance with employment issues such as unpaid trials, call the NSW Office of Industrial Relations on 131 628.


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