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Issue No. 207 22 December 2003  

Interview: Robbo’s Rules
Labor Council secretary John Robertson rules the line through 2003 and looks forward to a bigger and better year to come.

Unions: Fightback 2003
Tony Abbott, no less, summed up the tone of 2003 when he complained workers were frustrating his agenda, as Jim Marr reports.

Bad Boss: Madame Lash Whips Tony
Jim Marr explains how a local can manufacturer knocked off a quality field, including a notorious American call centre operator, in the race for Bad Boss honours.

Politics: United Front
Facing a new leader and new rules, Jim Marr speaks to key union players about the hot issues at January’s ALP National Conference.

Economics: Looking Back - Looking Forward
The year ends with the thought that 2004 must be better, writes Frank Stilwell in his annual review of all things economic.

International: Net Benefits
International editor Andrew Casey looks back on a year where workers stood up globally for services we once took for granted.

History: The New Guard
Who were Australia’s fascists in the 1930s and was John Howard’s father in the New Guard? Labour historian, Andrew Moore, uncovers some surprising information about Australia’s fascist past.

Poetry: What is the PM singing this Christmas?
Our Kirribilli spies, led by resident bard David Peetz, have been listening in on the PM's preparations for Christmas, and have recorded the Howard family rehearsing this new Christmas carol.

Review: Culture That Was
2003 saw the Howard Government signal its readiness to swap culture for agriculture in a free trade deal with the US and film maker George Miller lament that Aussie's had run out of stories to tell anyway, writes Tara de Boehmler.

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L A T E S T   N E W S

Nurses, Teachers Win Big
Teachers and nurses have ended the year with more cash in their stockings but with key claims for wage justice still before the umpire.

An eleventh hour ruling by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission delivered public and private sector teachers a 5.5 per cent interim rise, while nurses ended their workvalue case with a net 10 per cent increase. [full story]

Govt Coy on Sackings Threat
Fears of mass building industry sackings have been sparked by the arrival of anti-worker zealot, Derren Gillespie, at Federal Government’s Royal Commission Implementation Unit.

Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, did not respond to questions about whether his administration would again turn to Gillespie for the talents he brought to its 1998 showdown with the MUA (Maritime Union of Australia). [full story]

NSW: State of Discomfort
Bus drivers are piddling in bottles, and in the case of at least one female driver using a bucket, because of a chronic lack of toilets around NSW.

Drivers have slammed "third world conditions’ under which they work, saying the issue is an industry wide problem and that operators and government are failing to address a serious public hygiene problem.  [full story]

Fashion Police Collar Moe
Victorian call centre staff, unseen by the public, are being docked for wearing collarless shirts by TeleTech.

Company fashion police sent a male worker home after he attended a CPSU stop work meeting, last week, and docked him for being off-site - but not until he had been on the job for two hours and 46 minutes and helped the centre over its morning peak. [full story]

Telstra Picks Up Union Signal
Independent electrical contractors are flocking to the union banner after striking Foxtel installers secured deals leaving them around $500 a week better off.

Two hundred Telstra/Foxtel sub-contractors called off a week-long strike after contractors, Siemens Theiss and ABB, withdrew demands for 20 percent cuts in job rates. [full story]

E-Missiles Strike White House
Thousands of emails protesting the vandalising of Iraqi trade union headquarters by US troops are flooding into the White House.

The email campaign is being co-ordinated by European trade unions in response to this month’s raid in which troops from 10 armoured cars smashed windows, seized documents and tore anti-terrorism posters from the walls of the Iraqi Free Trade Union’s temporary headquarters. [full story]


 No Joy for ANZ - This Time

 STOP PRESS: Doubts Over Driver Test

 Juggler Catches Union Gong

 Chubb Beats Up On Own Guards

 Commuters Face Long, Hot Summer

 MUA Members Play Santa

 Bennelong Grinch Strikes Again

 G’day To Union Made Wines

 Activists Notebook

email workers to a friend latest breaking news from labornet
In retrospect, it seems the Monk may have been blessed with the gift of prophesy because 2003 was the year of fightback with its main industrial stories folding into larger themes.

If the storm clouds were gathering the silver lining was also evident, and it was a lining based on a new model of unionism – fighting smart with our backs to the wall, rather than expecting to exercise power as of a right.



The Guessing Game
We have consulted our regular list of mystics and gnostics to offer these throughts for the future.

Folk You Mate
Jan Nary looks at the role of workers songs in the upcoming National Folk Festival.

Shane Maloney – Crime Writer
For a crime writer whose books are set against a backdrop of unions and Labor Party politics, Shane Maloney confesses to little direct experience of either.

The Locker Room
Workers Online Sports Awards
Noel Hester and Peter Moss give their annual rundown of the good, the bad and the ugly in the world of sport.

The Web We Weave
Social Change Online's Mark McGrath's annual review of how unions are using the web to grow.

LETTERS to the Editor
 Tom On Mark
 Looking The Otherway At Christmas

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