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Issue No. 212 12 March 2004  

Unfriendly Fire
The decision by Rail Corp to invoke Peter Reith’s hardline industrial laws against NSW rail maintenance workers could cause more casualties than intended.


Interview: Baby Bust
Labor's Wayne Swan argues that the plight of our aging workforce is only one side of our demographic dilemma.

Safety: Dust To Dust
Failure by authorities to police safety in the asbestos removal industry is threatening the lives of members of the public, writes Phil Doyle.

Bad Boss: Shaming in Print
Delegates from print shops around Sydney will publicly shame this month’s Bad Boss nominee with a rally outside his new Alexandria operation next Thursday.

National Focus: Work's Cripplin' Us
Noel Hester reports on a spin doctors' talkfest, workplace pain, stroppy teachers and IWD party time in the national wrap.

International: Bulk Bullies
An extraordinary five month struggle over affordable health care, by nearly 70,000 Californian supermarket workers, has just come to an end, writes Andrew Casey.

History: The Battle for Kelly's Bush
Green Bans saved a piece of bush before they saved much of the Sydney’s built environment, writes Neale Towart

Economics: Aid, Trade And Oil
Tim Anderson reveals Australia’s second betrayal Of East Timor is playing out before our eyes.

Review: The Art Of Work
Workers and westies are being celebrated as the cultural icons they are thanks to two Sydney exhibitions reminding us there is a world of art in the everyday, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Sew His Lips Together
Wondering where the next porkie is going to come from? Resident bard David Peetz knows.


 Bring It On Costa

 Dodgy Tests Cost Drivers

 Peeking Dicks Roasted

 Serial Killer Cops Fine

 Printers Defy Age

 Actors Bucket "Crap" Deal

 Burrow Lashes Independents

 Perth Loses Ugly Fight

 Ambos Bans -Free Rides

 Millions Rung Up on Telstra

 AWU Publishing Coup

 Deliveries Scratched

 Activists What's On!


The Soapbox
Iraq and Your Mortgage
How high interest rates go will be a key issue in 2004 and if you are looking for a clue, there's no better place to look than the war in Iraq, writes Michael Rafferty.

Hang Onto the Day Job
Show someone else the money, says Phil Doyle.

Westie Wing
Ian West shows why Eveleigh Street’s not so far away from Macquarie Street

Don’t Give Up the Fight
Get Up, Stand Up is the logo of choice on a popular range of subversive condoms. Ken Davis from Union Aid Abroad reports from Zimbabwe’s second city

 Bring Back Gough
 Seven Good Reasons To Save Medicare
 Naked Leading The Blind
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Printers Defy Age

Melbourne’s Age newspaper is being accused of abusing both state police and its editorial power in a bid to dump 86 workers in defiance of an agreement it signed with their representatives.

Up to 80 Vic;torian police were assigned to protect John Fairfax Group property at Tullamarine while the publisher used the columns of its newspaper to promote its right to renege on an agreement, and criticise workers, unions and the Victorian Government for resisting.

This week, the Industrial Relations Commission, ruled The Age had acted illegally in making Spencer St printers and maintenance workers redundant.

Commissioner Dominica Whelan directed The Age not to make the workers redundant until its enterprise bargaining agreement with the AMWU expires next year.

AMWU Victorian secretary, Dave Oliver, called the ruling "complete vindication" of his union's position and lashed Fairfax for "abusing its power".

Oliver and associates last week met Victoria's state police commissioner to complain about the "waste of public resources" as up to 80 officers were detailed to protect new presses at Tullamarine on Melbourne's outskirts.

"We didn't even have any action out there," Oliver said, "but, on suspicion, they had 80 state police at their disposal. They set up road blocks and made members show identification to get in."

Oliver called "biased" editorialising on the dispute "disgraceful".

The article complained of was apparently written by management on the day the paper was curtailed by AMWU protest action at its Spencer St, city, site.

"In protest, we wrote a letter to the editor which never got printed. It shows the clear bias of the editor," Oliver said.

In her ruling, Ms Whelan said company guarantees on security of employment in its eba were "neither ambiguous nor uncertain".

The Age is appealing her ruling.


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