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Issue No. 226 25 June 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

US Forces
The concerted and increasingly personal campaign by the Howard Government to portray Mark Latham as anti-American is built on some dodgy premises.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: The New Democrat
Canadian activist Judy Rebick explains how she's using lessons from Brazil to rebuild the labour movement.

Bad Boss: The Ugly Australian
Prime Minister John Howard is in California spruiking the "merits" of this month’s Bad Boss nomination …

Unions: Free Spirits and Slaves
International capital demands guest labour – legal or illegal – as a way of beating down wages and conditions and, as Jim Marr discovers, the Australian Government seems happy to oblige.

Industrial: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on another workplace death (we-will-not-RIP NOHSC), heartburn for the Canberra consensus and all the action from around the states in our national wrap.

History: A Class Act
The problem of forgetting the primacy of class in favour of other ideas of community is highlighted in a new book, writes Neale Towart

International: Across the Ditch
NZ Nurses Union leader, Laila Harré, is in Sydney this week, comparing notes with the Australian Nurses Federation and seeking transTasman support for New Zealand’s highest profile industrial campaign.

Economics: Home Truths
Sydney University's Frank Stilwell argues that tax policy is driving the housing boom.

Review: No Time Like Tomorrow
The Day After Tomorrow is one part Grim Reaper of the environmental movement and two parts fictitious fable dramatically window dressed with extreme special effects, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Silent Note
Resident Bard David Peetz uncovers the current public service motto – "Don't tell the Minister!".

N E W S

 Hadgkiss Sinks Boot into Safety

 Put a Job in Your Trolley

 Della Puts Cleaners Through Schools

 Freespirit Severs "Slavery" Link

 Luna Fringe Targets Fun

 Labour Warriors Fall

 Canberra Six in Dock

 Lobbyists Look for ALP Spine

 Tree Plan Faces Axe

 Sydney Water to Drip Feed Public

 Safety Nosedives At JetStar

 Irritable Desks on March

 Howard Backs Union Model

 Activists What’s On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
The Pursuit of Happiness Part I
The Australia Institute's Clive Hamilton questions the assumptions underlying a society that defines happiness in dollar terms.

The Soapbox
The Pursuit of Happiness Part II
Clive Hamilton concludes his analysis, looking at how more and more Australians are pulling back from a marketplace that is no longer providing the goods.

The Locker Room
Sack ‘Em All!
Phil Doyle puts his job on the line, but doesn’t everyone these days?

Politics
The Westie Wing
The NSW Government has an agenda on the table but the test is finding innovative ways to finance it, writes Ian West

L E T T E R S
 Lest We Forget
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Irritable Desks on March


Cluttered desks, poor posture and hours spent in front of a computer are damaging the health of office staff, with increasing numbers suffering "Irritable Desk Syndrome".

The UK based safety magazine Hazards reports that researchers at NEC-Mitsubishi say that regular breaks and making desks more personal could reduce the symptoms of this condition.

Their survey found 67 percent of office workers said that they are more tied to their desk than they were two years ago and around 40 percent said they were infuriated by too much clutter on their desks.

Irritable Desk Syndrome has been an issue in Australia with Tax Office field staff being forced to "hotdesk" - where they are forced to use whatever desk is available - as changes to the law see them increasingly tied to the office.

"This is increasingly becoming a problem while we see the Federal Government moving a million miles in the other direction," says Dermot Browne of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU).

The CPSU has been disappointed by Federal Government moves to abolish the country's peak safety body, the National Occupational Health and Safety Council (NOHSC).

"The Federal Government is also moving to abolish the automatic role of unions to police this area," says Browne.

Private call centres have also been singled out for forcing workers to "grab whatever desk is available".

The CPSU supported the report's call for workers to have regular breaks, but said a spokesperson added that pressure from performance targets often stymied workers' ability to take such precautions.


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