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Issue No. 217 23 April 2004  

Textor Messaging
Those responsible for communicating the union movement’s message to the public met in Melbourne this week and invited none other than John Howard’s master pollster to give his perspective. The spooky thing was his message to unions was an optimistic one.


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


 "Slave Labour" in WA Revolt

 Vaile Orange – 200 Punted

 Right Turn Ends in Court

 Premier on Track to Nowhere

 Bosses Unite Against Holidays

 Miners Stand Up to "Bullies"

 All Out in the Gong

 Zoo Poo Stink

 Feared Beard in Shipping Scare

 Mayday … Footy Player Celebrates

 Teachers Roll Up for Discipline

 De-Skilling Australia

 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.

 More Than Cricket
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Vaile Orange – 200 Punted

Orange is being squeezed by a multi-national that pocketed $6 million taxpayer dollars before announcing the export of 200 blue collar jobs to China.

Sweden-based Electrolux dumped 200 workers, last week, two years after it promised a controversial out-sourcing program would protect jobs in the central west town.

AMWU president, Tim Ayres, said it was no accident that the work had been relocated to China where Federal Minister Mark Vaile is trying to negotiate a free trade agreement.

"Vaile has arrived with 200 jobs in his backpack and a promise of many more to come," Ayres said. "Australian representatives were comprehensively dudded in free trade negotiations with the US and we are fearful of what they will serve up with a country that doesn't abide by core labour standards."

Ayres said Vaile's policies were a threat to the viability of rural Australia.

AWU president, Mick Madden, said there had been a change of culture since Electrolux took over fridge and freezer manufacturing at Orange from local operator, Email.

"These workers were given assurances that a decision to outsource some of their jobs overseas would eventually result in a net jobs gain due to increased volume," Madden said.

"Four years ago the NSW Government gave $6 million worth of subsidies to keep the plant operating, but that has barely rated a mention since.

"Now whole families are being told their jobs are finished leaving people gobsmacked."

The Orange region is still recovering from last year's abbatoir closure which cost hundreds of jobs.

Electrolux still employs nearly 800 production workers at its site, more than 25 percent of Orange's blue collar workforce.


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