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Issue No. 216 16 April 2004  

Joining the Dots
At first blush there appears little connection between the Howard Government’s handling of the War on the union movement and the War on Iraq – 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

 Dick’s 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 What’s 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 mightn’t 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
 Tom’s A Furphy
 Rolling in Clover
 More War And Peace
 Invisible Workers
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Death Highlights Risky Business

A father in his fifties has been killed at a western Sydney factory already under the spotlight for a number of alleged safety breaches.

Bob Keys died at Consolidated Extrusions Ingleburn plant when witnesses say half a tonne of brass rods fell from overhead racking.

Keys' daughter has demanded to know who will be held accountable for his death.

The incident has sparked renewed union calls for industrial manslaughter legislation in NSW.

"It's all too frequent that we hear of a death that is avoidable," says acting state secretary of the Australian Workers Union (AWU), Matt Thistlewaite. "It shouldn't take a serious injury or death for employers to meet their legal obligation to provide a safe workplace."

Thistlewaite has slammed existing penalties for safety breaches as "insufficient" and has pledged to Keys' family and workmates that the AWU will be doing "everything that it can" to hold those responsible accountable.

Workers Online understands that Consolidated Extrusions is currently being prosecuted over an incident where a worker had his hand caught in a machine.

In a previous incident an explosion is a casting house at Consolidated Extrusions left employees "shaken".

"It was quite amazing that no one was hurt or killed," says Thistlewaite of the casting house incident.

A NSW government working party is currently looking into penalties for deaths and serious injury in the workplace.

"Regardless of what any working party says, the Labor Council and NSW unions want a law in place that adequately deals with these issues," says Thistlewaite, who accused the government of being out of step with community expectations. "If you do the wrong thing and drink and drive and that causes a death then you face a gaol sentence. There have been fewer fatalities on roads because of stiffer penalties, but when it came to dealing with business the Government doesn't seem to have the same strength."

Coronial investigations into Keys' death are continuing.


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