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Issue No. 209 20 February 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Regions To Be Cheerful
Rule changes endorsed by this weekís NSW Labor Council Annual General Meeting reorganising the South Coast Labor Council into as a regional branch council should not be under-estimated.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Trading in Principle
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, a key figure in the Labor movement, discusses the big issues - from Mark Latham to Pavlovís Dogs.

Unions: While We Were Away
While Workers Online was washing sand from between its toes and enjoying an Indian summer at the cricket, there was a reality show chugging relentlessly away in the background, Jim Marr reports.

Politics: Follow the Leader
Workerís Online tool man, Phil Doyle, dives into the ALPís Darling Harbour love-in and nearly drowns in treacle.

Bad Boss: Safety Recidivist Fingered
The CFMEU has come up with a killer nomination to kick off our 2004 hunt for Australiaís worst employer.

Economics: Casualisation Shrouded In Myths
British academic, Kevin Doogan, sets the record straight on casualisation and warns unionists about the dangers of scoring an own goal

History: Worker Control Harco Style
Drew Cottle and Angela Keys ask if it's worth rememberinng the 1971 Harco work-in.

Review: Other Side Of The Harbour
The 1998 maritime dispute threatened to tear many a family apart but Katherine Thomson's Harbour tells the tale of at least one that it brought back together - albeit reluctantly, writes Tara de Boehmler.

N E W S

 Trains Go Backwards

 Mum Canít Bank on Westpac

 Andrews Up for Hanke Panky

 Riot Raises Safety Probe

 ABC of Solidarity

 "Shameful" Action Pays Dividends

 Bum Rap for Bump Caps

 Strikers Tie Down Gas Project

 Heat Rises at Uni

 TeleTech's Dead Heart

 Tired Drivers Fight Hypocrisy

 Seven Days on a Leaking Boat

 Families Back Safety Calls

 Howard Pushes Pay Cut

 Activist's Notebook

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Dog Whistlers, Spin Doctor and Us
John Menadue argues the "better angels" of the Australian character are having their wings ripped off by an ever-expanding group dedicating to keeping the public at arms length from our decision-makers.

Postcard
Something Fishy In Laos
Phillip Hazelton fishes around in Vientiane, Laos, and looks at the impact of Bird Flu on those relying on feathered friends for survival.

Sport
Magic Realism
Phil Doyle discovers that literature and sport may have more in common than you would think

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Trickle, flood or drought? Workers friend Ian West, MLC, is wet, wet, wet on the issue of bilateral Free Trade.

L E T T E R S
 On the Road
 Bullying
 A Casual Affair
 Latham Is A Bad Man
 Congrats Johnny
 Tomís Bit
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Mum Canít Bank on Westpac


A phone call from Westpac Bank, eight days after the birth of baby son Hayden, tempered the Vandine familyís joy over their new arrival.

The Bank, boasting a 2003 profit of $2.1 billion, told branch manager, Linda Vandine, her jobshare position would not be available on her return from maternity leave.

"It was really charming," Vandine told Workers Online. "We don't know what we are going to do, do we? They told me they would negotiate something when I get back in August, in the meantime we are in limbo.'

"It was a huge shock. If I wasn't having a baby I would still have my job. I really feel victimised and hurt."

On February 3, the Finance Sector Union took Vandine's case before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission. The IRC told the parties to talk through the issues and report back in March. To this point, Westpac hasn't settled a date to progress negotiations.

FSU national industrial officer, Andrea Mears, however, said she remained hopeful of a satisfactory outcome.

"Linda wants to go back to the position she earned through 15 years of loyal service. Isn't that what maternity leave provisions are supposed to be all about?" she asked.

"Our initial discussions were reasonably positive. We are still hopeful we can resolve this to everybody's satisfaction."

Vandine's jobshare partner has, meanwhile, been moved to a different position within the organisation.

Vandine said it was the uncertainly her family was finding difficulty. Previous experience suggested she might be moved to a relieving position but that the sheer size of the Westpac region she was employed in could lead to practical difficulties. It includes branches at Hornsby, Epping, St Ives and Turramurra.

The Guildford-based mother of three said managers were expected to be first into the office and last to leave.

She said the matter should have been sorted before she went on maternity leave, rather than the bank raising its problems a week after she gave birth

"I understand they (Westpac) run a business and I am prepared to negotiate just about anything that doesn't disadvantage my children," she said. "It's just not knowing that is making it really difficult for us at the moment."


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