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Issue No. 210 27 February 2004  

Rock Of Ages
The Howard Governmentís response to Australiaís aging population - to make them work longer and harder Ė 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 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.


 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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CFMEU Backs Redfern Jobs

Youngsters from Redfern and Waterloo will fill most of the 22 positions on the CFMEUís next eight-week Aboriginal construction skills training program at Lidcombe TAFE.

The initiative is part of the unionís "Jobs Not Batons" strategy to support families in the troubled suburbs.

"Redfern's problems won't be solved by batons and tear gas," CFMEU secretary Andrew Ferguson said. "Greater efforts need to be made to assist unemployed Aboriginal youth to develop skills that give them real job prospects.

"The violence and drug and alcohol problems we read so much about are a response to feelings of despair.

The 2004 course follows the successful 2003 Indigenous Job Ready program initiated by the union and fronted by senior Aboriginal official, Les Tobler.

Tobler said every graduate who stayed the distance last year had been placed in a decent, well-paying construction industry job. Some were labouring on city building sites and a number had begun carpentry apprenticeships.

"One-way or another every successful student from the March-April course who wants a job and is willing to work will be placed in employment," Tobler said.

NSW Labor Council and the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), meanwhile, are seeking to turn around University of Western Sydney policies that have led to a drastic cut in Aboriginal involvement.

Labor Council secretary, John Robertson, wants UWS vice-chancellor, Jan Reed, to consider representations from himself and NTEU representatives before acting on a decision to shut the university's Aboriginal Educational Centre.

The recently announced closure heightens the fears of Indigenous academics that say their culture, and opportunities for their people, are being steadily eroded at the institution.

A meeting of UWS Indigenous staff, last week, expressed "anger" that the number of Aboriginal employees had plummeted from 30 to just 13 in the past four years.


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