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Issue No. 217 23 April 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

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

 "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!

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
 More Than Cricket
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News

Miners Stand Up to "Bullies"


Miners are fighting attempts to "slash and burn" wages across the Western Australian coalfields.

Wesfarmers Premier Coal has taken its attack into "worker’s kitchens and bedrooms" by sending letters to their families stating its intention to "rip the heart out of conditions", according to unions.

Wesfarmers Premier Coal plans to extend working hours beyond 12 per shift, bring in contractors without consultation, and reduce holiday entitlements.

More than 300 of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) voted unanimously to shut down the industry for 36 hours this week.

"To impose conditions on employees within the industry by default is unAustralian and unacceptable," says CFMEU state secretary Gary Wood. "The dispute will have an effect on customers, but we do not expect any disruptions to power supplies unless there is an escalation of the dispute. Any such escalation will only result if Wesfarmers Premier Coal continues to refuse to bargain in good faith."

If the Wesfarmers Premier agreement is accepted unions warn it would lead to job losses in the industry, and place competitor Griffin Coal at a disadvantage.


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