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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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Bosses Unite Against Holidays

Employers, including state government departments, are "filibustering" efforts to deliver annual leave, sick pay and other basic entitlements to hundreds of thousands of people around NSW.

Unions NSW official, Chris Christodoulou, said the number of witnesses notified by employers meant there was "no way" the ground-breaking Secure Employment Test Case would be heard this year.

"It looks like a giant filibuster," Christodoulou said. "Unfortunately, many of the statements are being provided by state government departments.

"That is disappointing because the growth of casualisation is creating a two-tiered society. Only recently a Senate Inquiry Report found casual employees disproportionately represented amongst Australians living in poverty."

Many NSW departments have indicated their intention to put on statements opposing the Test Case in apparent contradiction of Minister of State, John Della Bosca, who called casualisation a "concern" and said the IRC should bring down guidelines.

Public Service Association (PSA) assistant secretary, Steve Turner, said the public service had hired three different barristers to run three different angles before the IRC. He called that a "waste of public funds".

Turner said if state government had taken a "sensible approach" to the issue, most public sector issues could already have been settled.

"Legislative provision for the public service is that, wherever possible, employment should be permanent, ongoing work," he said.

Unions are putting the finishing touches to their case against the background of new research, released by the Whitlam Institute this week, that reveals ...

- there are 2.2 million Australians employed on casual terms that deny access to basic entitlements

- 60 percent of them - more than 1.3 million people - are deemed casual although they have worked with their current employer for more than a year

- nearly half a million have been with the same employer for more than five years

- declining skills development, associated with casualisation, is a risk to productivity and the economy

The Test Case will argue specific awards should contain a clause, or clauses, that ...

- entitle regular casuals to opt for permanent employment after six months service with the same employer

- entitle labour hire employees to employment with the host employer after six months doing the same job for the same employer

commit employers to full consultation with employees and relevant unions prior to contracting out, and to guarantee existing jobs, wages and conditions.


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