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Issue No. 216 16 April 2004  

Joining the Dots
At first blush there appears little connection between the Howard Governmentís handling of the War on the union movement and the War on Iraq Ė until you realise the key players come from the same team.


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


 Weekend Warrior Outed

 Dickís Got Form

 Mum Burned By "Barbecue Stopper"

 RSL Bombs Vets

 Sweetener for Sugar Pills

 Death Highlights Risky Business

 Casual Affair On The Buses

 Athens Update: Dying Games

 Nuns Run Amok in Cessnock

 Roving Commission for Safety Reps

 Workers Order Ziggy on Toast

 Divers Down

 Activists Whatís On!


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 mightnít be everything, it does make the back of the newspaper more interesting, as Phil Doyle reports.

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

 Sick Pay
 Tomís A Furphy
 Rolling in Clover
 More War And Peace
 Invisible Workers
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Mum Burned By "Barbecue Stopper"

A Wagga Wagga Mum is battling to keep her part-time job after the Federal Government refused to put meat on the bones of its family-friendly "barbecue stopper".

Last ditch appeals to intervene at the IRC on Therese Martinís behalf were brushed by Government representatives, although Canberra had intervened in recent hearings on behalf of employers.

Martin, the mother of three children aged eight to 13, told Workers Online she would be forced onto a pension if the Commission didn't strike out Salmat's move to make her work night shifts at its Wagga Wagga call centre.

"I want to work but my children are my first priority," she said. "We live 15km out of town and I am not prepared to leave them at home by themselves at night.

"As a mother, I think it is important to be there for my kids and to supervise them. They are good kids but anything can happen if you are not there for them."

Martin began work at Salmat after the company agreed to her request for 3.15pm finishes. When hours across the centre were moved back, she agreed to start later and finish at 3.45 but, just before Easter, she was told she would have to go onto rosters finishing as late as 9pm.

Martin said she had only accepted the job in the first place because Salmat specifically advertised its "family friendly" credentials, and called for applications from women who wanted part part-time work.

A union delegate with the USU, she says she was called into the manager's office and told "poor performance" was behind the forced change in hours.

The following day she received a certificate for "excellence in customer service" signed by her supervisor.

The USU appealed for Government intervention, through the office of Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrew.

"The Prime Minister says balancing work and family is the biggest ongoing social debate of our time and a real barbecue stopper," USU executive president Michael Want said.

"We gave him the chance to put his money where his mouth was and do something positive to help a single mother trying to balance her responsibilities and, so far, nothing.

"The government has intervened on behalf of employers and this a real chance to support a working mother whose hours and days were agreed when she commenced employment."


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