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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

Three Cheers for 36-Hour Week


Electrician Rick Petrou and wife Robyn have three good reasons to celebrate the flexibility of new 36-hour week arrangements in the construction industry.

Last October Robyn gave birth to triplets - Lachlan, Evan and Samuel.

At seven months the three boys are a handful, but Rick, who works in the construction industry for Fredon Industries, has the new 36-Hour Week arrangements as well as his paternity leave to call upon.

The new Rostered Day Off (RDO) arrangements, which started on April 1, are designed to help electricians better balance their home and work lives.

For Robyn and Rick Petrou the timing couldn't be better.

"The new RDO arrangements will be a big help when I start to return to work part time," says Robyn. "It will be good having Rick at home."

The new arrangements will see extra time 'banked' and used so that building sites can shut down on Saturdays for six weekends a year. These weekends a scheduled to coincide with weekends where there are existing holidays.

The weekends include Australia Day, the Easter Weekend, Anzac Day, the Queens Birthday Holiday, the October long weekend and the Union Picnic day in December.

The 36-hour week campaign in the construction industry evolved from workers wanting to better balance their work and home lives.

"It's designed to give workers more time with their families," says ETU organiser Daniel Wiseman. "There is a high divorce rate amongst workers in the industry because of the industry working on Saturdays."

The move will also see overtime go to a higher rate because of the formula currently used to calculate weekly hours worked.


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