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Issue No. 215 02 April 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Something Smells
There is something just a little too cute about the NSW government’s discovery of a budget crisis on the eve of public sector wage talks.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Terror Australis
The Howard Government has just discovered the nation's ports are a terrorist target. The International Transport Federation's Dean Summers has been warning them for years.

Unions: Graeme Beard's Second Dig
Hidden in the Australian Workers Union Sydney office is a mild-mannered industrial officer who once strutted the international cricket stage, writes Jim Marr.

Industrial: The Hell of Troy
On the basis of a couple of hours in the witness box, Building Industry Royal Commissioner Terence Cole described Troy Stratti as "credible". Six men who, together, have known the company director for the best part of 50 years beg to differ.

Organising: Miners Strike Gold
Traditional unions are rediscovering the power of grassroots organising. Paddy Gorman reports from the coal face.

Economics: The Accepted Wisdom
Evan Jones argues that economic policy making has been narrowed and rendered mechanistic and antiseptic.

History: Vicious Old Lady
Despite its Liberal leanings, the Sydney Morning Herald has never been shy of bashing unions, writes Neale Towart.

International: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Thailand must end its crackdown on Burmese fleeing rights abuses in their military-ruled homeland, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

Review: War Unfogged
Want to go to war but not sure where to start? Look no further than Errol Morris' latest doco-drama for the definitive 11-step lesson plan, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: TAFE
A TAFE student struggling under the weight of fees shares his wordly wisdom

N E W S

 Gong Points Death Bone at Iemma

 Strip – Howard’s Order to Shoppies

 Workers Victory - We’re Legal!

 Compo Family Exiled to Peru

 Patrick Faces Million Dollar Fines

 Water Quality in Budget Back-Wash

 Feds Dodge Death

 Hard Men Melt Away

 Three Cheers for 36-Hour Week

 Dili Death "Down to Dollars"

 Builder Pleads Guilty

 Maternity Plan: Hard Labor?

 Life – Cambodia’s Grand Raffle

 Thumbs Up for Union Code

 Activists What’s On!

C O L U M N S

Postcard
A Voice for Peace
Palestinian trade union leader calls on militants to lay down their arms while the ICFTU protests harassment of Palestinian union leader.

The Soapbox
The Double Standard Bearers
Nicholas Way argues that when it comes to collective action, the Howard Government has different views depending on whether you are a unionist or a small business.

The Locker Room
The Fine Print
While the result mightn’t be everything, it does make the back of the newspaper more interesting, as Phil Doyle reports.

Politics
The Westie Wing
Ian West crunches the numbers in Macquarie Street and finds virtue in deficit.

L E T T E R S
 War And Peace
 Getting Away With Murder
 Terrorism
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Patrick Faces Million Dollar Fines


Straddle cranes at the centre of Federal Government’s War on the Wharves have been black listed by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.

Government’s partner in the 1998 assault on maritime workers, Parick Stevedores, faces millions in potential fines after being found guilty of five breaches of OH&S laws.

Manning levels was the key issue in the waterfront dispute. Patrick chief executive Chris Corrigan wanted to reduce downtime and cut jobs but the IRC found that forcing drivers to work entire shifts in single-operator straddles has caused serious injuries.

"Here we are with a document, four or five years after the event, that says they weren't right," MUA national secretary, Paddy Crumlin, said.

He described the IRC findings as "vindication" of the union's position but played down the effect it would have on Patrick's operation.

He said negotiations in the years since the waterfront confrontation had produced "substantive progress" and that, as a censure, the IRC ruling applied to only a "handful of hardline company managers".

"The big thing for us is that this should bring home to the last of the cold war warriors that the world has changed," Crumlin said.

"It refutes their argument that Occupational Health and Safety concerns are an impediment to productivity. Rather, it vindicates the union position that unsafe practices are the real impediment to productivity."

Crumlin said the attitudes of remaining "Berlin Wall managers" had left a number of Patrick workers unable to drive straddle cranes again.

He said the fact that the union and company had been in mediation over the issue for 12 months indicated there had been a breakdown in the review process.


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