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Issue No. 206 05 December 2003  

A New Mark for Labor
Few of us who care about the future of the labour movement would not admit to a surge of hope and sense of excitement following the election of Mark Latham to the federal parliamentary leadership.


Interview: Muscling Up
Labor�s Craig Emerson discusses how the changes to his party�s leadership will impact on the industrial relations agenda.

Unions: Thinking Pink
What�s the difference between a Nursing Home and an Aged Care Facility? More than semantics, according to nurses worried Australia is woefully unprepared for the crash at the end of the baby-boom cycle, writes Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Global Bully
If nothing else, US-based call centre giant TeleTech is consistent. After being nosed out of last year�s Bad Boss gong it is back, bigger and badder than ever in its search for Tony honours.

Unions: National Focus
In this national round up by Noel Hester, Hugh McKay tells us how the young are sticking together in a bewildered society, the gongs get handed out at the ACTU awards and there is a chance to win as a worthy wordsmith.

Economics: Friend or Flunkey?
On New Years Day as you look at the wine stains and tread on a soggy puddle on the carpet, will you look for the phone and call a cleaner? Gabrielle Meagher gives a few ethical dilemmas to confront before you make that call.

History: Young Blood
Youth is no barrier to political leadership, as the 37-year-old John Watson proved 100 years ago, writes Neale Towart.

Industrial: Living For Work?
Mark Hearn reports from a recent conference addressing the dilemma of work, citizenship and community.

International: Fighting Together
The international trade union movement is launching a Global Unions HIV/AIDS campaign to combat the spread of the virus.

Poetry: Medicare Plus Blues
Is the Government's new health plan a plus for Medicare? Asks resident bard David Peetz

Review: Human Racing
Seabiscuit is a great horse movie but more than that it serves as a powerful metaphor for the importance of living for the future while maintaining passion and compassion in the present, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Peeking Dicks in Pickle

 Lights Out on Cheap Labour

 Blackout Hangs Over Sydney

 Contractors Hang Up on Telstra

 Uni Workers Too Smart For Minister

 Employer Bullies Vie For �Tony�

 South Coast Deal to Build Movement

 TeleTech Safety Rep Vows to Fight On

 Corporates Urged to Come Clean

 MP Too Busy For Teachers

 Bosses Block Good Shops Code

 Engineers Ground Safety System

 Workers Win At Safety Meet

 Merger Threats

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Dear John
In his 500th piece of activist journalism, long-term Workers Online contributor Rowan Cahill sends a personal message to our prime Minister.

The Locker Room
Retired Hurt
Every innings comes to an end, some too soon, and others not soon enough, writes Phil Doyle.

Wedge Watch
Labor's Craig Emerson puts the spotlight on the Howard Government's politics of division.

The Westie Wing
Workers Friend Ian West MLC is back with his monthly round-up from Macquarie Street.

 Feds Ignore Building Deaths
 Bob Gould On Kicking The Liberals Out
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Blackout Hangs Over Sydney

A $200 million project to back-up central Sydney�s power supply is threatened by Transgrid�s proposed relocation to a site on the city�s western outskirts.

A key engineer on the project, who lives on the Northern Beaches, is questioning whether or not he can make the move to Wallgrove, near Eastern Creek, which lacks public transport and is hours away from most workers � some of whom commute from the Central Coast and Wollongong.

Transgrid has refused a request for a Risk Assessment on its new headquarters, with management adopting a 'take it or leave it' approach to hundred of head office employees.

"They said 'we're going to Wallgrove, come if you want'." says PSA member Ho Yam Yeow.

"The move makes no sense unless there is a hidden agenda to downsize," says Paul Barrett, who works at Transgrid's Elizabeth Street headquarters in the city. "The proposal has caused a lot of hardship. People's fears and anxieties have been heightened."

"For some people they just cannot go to Eastern Creek."

Big Impact On Families

Ho Yam Yeow is concerned about the impact of the move as he has a sick wife and two children under seven.

"How am I supposed to get home in an emergency?" asks Yeow. "This is having a big impact on my family."

"Unless you've got a helicopter there's no way I could do it."

Another worker is looking at his family having to sacrifice one income to sustain the move.

"My wife will have to quit her job," he said. "Given the impact I would expect some consultation."

"It's unacceptable and upsetting."

The decision by Transgrid is likely to see a 'brain drain' from the organisation - especially from specialised and qualified engineers who are in demand.

"They'll lose key people," says one Transgrid insider. "They'll have trouble replacing these engineers."

The Public Service Association of NSW and the NSW Labor Council are backing the workers and will be seeking a meeting with the Minister to resolve the issue.


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