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Issue No. 210 27 February 2004  

Rock Of Ages
The Howard Government’s response to Australia’s aging population - to make them work longer and harder – is a small minded response to a mind-blowing problem, a perversion of the discipline of demography.


Interview: Trading in Principle
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, a key figure in the Labor movement, discusses the big issues - from Mark Latham to Pavlov’s 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
Worker’s Online tool man, Phil Doyle, dives into the ALP’s 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 Australia’s 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.


 Siren Sounds on Asbestos "Scam"

 Youngsters Taken For A Ride

 Costello Necks Young and Old

 CFMEU Backs Redfern Jobs

 Della to Save Christmas?

 Time for Global Zone Out

 Equant's Pyramid Jobs Scheme

 Unions at Unis

 A Bridge Too Far

 Men Score Mat Leave

 Strikes Rock TAFE, Unis

 Health Maters To The Barricades

 Prison Officers Strike Back

 Activists Notebook


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.

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.

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

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

 We Make Mistakes
 Taking The Piss
 Dear Mark
 Tom Goes Off I
 Tom Goes Off II
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Youngsters Taken For A Ride

The company that pocketed $52.5 million to transform Sydney’s biggest youth attraction into an industrial park is denying redundancy to hundreds of young employees.

Wonderland boss, Steven Galbraithe, whose car boasts the personalised plate CEO 1, has rejected any form of severance payment for 200 predominantly young western Sydney employees who kept the amusement park ticking over.

Galbraithe, accused of "rorting the system" by the LHMU, has been caught out in a number of discrepancies since regaling the public with a tale of woe, worthy of the park's Disneyland theme.

Initially Galbraithe blamed a string of outside factors, including SARS, Avian bird flu, terrorism and the Ansett failure, for his company's decision to close Sydney's last remaining amusement park from April 26.

He categorically denied to staff, and the public, that the land had been sold.

Some doubt was thrown on all these claims when State Minister for Western Sydney, Diane Beamer, revealed International Theme Park Prop Ltd had, in fact, sold the Wonderland site to ING's real estate arm which planned to develop it as another industrial park.

Wonderland has capped payouts for around 40 permanent employees at a maximum of eight weeks.

Galbraithe's attitude to the plight of employees has been described as "ordinary" by the LHMU's assistant secretary Mark Boyd.

"They list the vast majority of their staff as casual but they are not casual in most people's understanding of the term and they are probably not casual in law either," Boyd says.

"They are using casualisation to deny 200 western Sydney workers any redundancy or severance payments. But these people work regular shifts, with a regular expectation of work, and set rosters. Many of them have been with Wonderland for years.

"Now that we've dismissed Avian Bird Flu and SARS from the equation, it's obvious this company has a $52.5 million pot of gold it is not prepared to share with its workforce.

"It is another example of employers rorting the system by hiding behind casualisation."

Workers at the park were angered when police were called to a stop work meeting in the car park last week.

Boyd claims Wonderland is still searching employee's bags on entering and leaving the site, despite giving the IRC an assurance the practice would cease.


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