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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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Equant's Pyramid Jobs Scheme

Twenty five IT trouble shooters walked off the job in Sydney today and voted for 24 hours of action in response to news that their jobs will be exported to Cairo, Egypt.

The Botany-based IT support staff will take direct action if Equant, a subsidiary of French Telecom, fails to meet three key demands, including entering good faith EBA negotiations with the ASU.

The other requirements voted up by 25 of the 27 staff rostered for work last Friday afternoon were ...

- lifting its16 week cap on redundancy payments

- providing workers with technical retraining

Equant Sydney will cut 20 of the 150 jobs the company is relocating to Egypt, internationally. Analysts say that skilled Egyptian IT professionals earn the equivalent of about $1US400 a month.

The main job of Botany call centre workers is providing technical information to airlines.

"We have been trying to negotiate an enterprise agreement for 18 months but Equant has just refused," ASU organiser, Gabi Wynhausen told Workers Online.

"We are not opposed to Egyptian workers but we are opposed to losing our jobs, fullstop. Given their decision we want them to remove the cap on redundancy and to provide technical training to improve our members chances of getting other work."

So far Equant has agreed to buy five technical manuals amongst the 70 call centre operators from whom it will cull the jobs going to Cairo.

The company is also refusing to include overseas toward severance calculations.

"They say - we are global, we are global," Wynhausen said. "Well, what about showing some consistency and recognising global service?"

The Equant offshoring comes only months after Telstra, or contractors to Telstra, announced they would sell more than 600 Australian tech jobs to low-cost overseas providers, and gave notice that more than 1000 others were on the block.


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