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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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A Bridge Too Far

A trade unionist killed in a crane accident has had the Heathcote bridge he was working on named after him.

A year after the accident the widow, Karen Boland, and her three children, Kate, Tara and Jordan, were on hand for the unveiling of a memorial at the Michael Boland Bridge, just off Sydney's Princes Highway.

"The bridge naming in memory of Michael is welcomed but the best thing the state government can do to show respect for workers killed is to pass industrial manslaughter laws," says Karen Boland.

Other family members, friends and union delegates attended the ceremony to unveil the memorial plaque and name the bridge.

"This was not the first fatality on a State Rail project," said Construction Forestry and Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) secretary Andrew Ferguson. "The CFMEU is demanding that the state government and all its departments establish better systems to monitor safety on their projects."

A NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Serious Injury and Death in the Workplace has received thousands of petitions also calling for industrial manslaughter laws.

The petition was coordinated by Kim Williams a teenage friend of Joel Exner, who was killed on a building site in Sydney's west in October last year.

"Like negligent car drivers who drink drive and kill, employers who cut corners for profits and kill must be held accountable," says Williams.

Public In Danger

The recent collapse of tonnes of pebbles from a synthetic bag at a suburban building site in St Leonards has led to the CFMEU moving to protect the safety of construction workers and members of the public.

"We were fortunate no one was killed," says CFMEU Secretary Andrew Ferguson. "If this is not addressed we face the prospect of workers and members of the public being killed or seriously injured."

The CFMEU intends to eliminate the threat by demanding changes to the way materials are handled. If builders do not cooperate the union has recommended that workers should "sit in the sheds until this safety problem is fixed".


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