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Issue No. 205 28 November 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Australia Deserves Better
You only have to scan through recent issues of Workers Online to see why the leadership of the ALP is so important – not to the political insiders who judge the beauty contest that is federal politics, but to the millions of workers who are affected by its output.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 Labour Hire Boosts Tech Wreck

 Call Centre Throws Safety Out the Door

 Miners Tackle Million Dollar Sidestep

 Bouquets for Bosses

 Mandarins Nail Carpenters

 BHP Burrow-ed By UN

 ACT Rejects Manslaughter Bullying

 No Joy for Fat Exec Packages

 WorkCover Walks Away From Racetrack

 Contractors Scramble Foxtel Signal

 Safety Derails Train Talks

 Sydney Uni Strikes At Feds

 Workers Up For Safety Awards

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

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

Sport
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.

Politics
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.

Postcard
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.

L E T T E R S
 Mad Monk’s Medicare Minus
 A Tale Of Three Cities
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

BHP Burrow-ed By UN


ACTU President Sharan Burrow has played a lead role in forcing BHP-Biliton to review its policy of forcing workers onto individual contracts following high-level talks with the United Nations this week.

In a major test of Kofi Annon’s Global Compact on corporate responsibility, BHP-Biliton has been told it must enter talks with unions on its Pilbara work practices if it is to meet its obligations under the Compact.

Burrow, Australia's worker representative on the International Labour Organisation, met with Global Compact coordinator George Kell in Geneva on Monday to discuss the ACTU's complaint against BHP-Biliton.

Following the meeting, Kell called on BHP Biliton to consult over its policies and if, it couldn't mediate a resolution itself, seek the assistance of the ILO.

Failure to do so would place BHP-Biliton in breach of the compact, which sets out nine principles of corporate behaviour - including core labour stands to respect the rights of working people and ensure freedom of association.

The ACTCU complaint was based on BHP_Bilition's practice of offerng workers in the Pilbara take-it-or-leave Australian Workplace Agreements - a clear breach of this standard.

Burrow says it's the first time an Australian company has been challenged under the compact.

,

"This is good news for Australian workers and good news for workers internationally - a clear statement from the UN that companies must treat workers with respect if they want to call themselves global citizens.

"The UN's Global Compact can't be window dressing if companies and individuals are going to participate in a better world where everyone has rights."


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