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Issue No. 228 09 July 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Thai-ed in Knots
With all the hype, hiccups, fear and loathing around the Australia/US Free Trade agreement, another agreement all but slipped under the radar this week - a preferential trade deal between Australia and Thailand.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Power and the Passion
ALP's star recruit Peter Garrett shares his views on unions, forests and being the Member for Wedding Cake Island

Unions: Tackling the Heavy Hitters
Tony Butterfield became a State of Origin gladiator at the unlikely age of 33. Even that, Jim Marr reports, couldn’t prepare him for the knock-down, drag-em-out world of modern IR.

Industrial: Seeing the Forest For The Wood
Proposals to flog off NSW’s forests have raised eyebrows and temperatures amongst some of the key players reports Phil Doyle.

Housing: Home Truths
CFMEU national secretary John Sutton argues for a radical solution to the housing affordability crisis.

International: Boycott Busters
International unions have issued a new list of corporations breaching ILO sanctions to do business in Burma.

Economics: Ideology and Free Trade
The absurdities of neoclassical economic assumptions has never stood in the way of their being trotted out to justify profiteering and attacks on the rights of citizens. The AUSFTA is the latest rort we are supposed to swallow, writes Neale Towart.

History: Long Shadow of a Forgotten Man
Interest in JC Watson's short time as Labor's first Prime Minister should not detract from his more substantial role as Party leader, writes Mark Hearn

Review: Chewing the Fat
As debate rages in Australia about Fast Food advertising, Julianne Taverner takes a look at a side of the industry that Ronald McDonald won’t tell you about in Supersize Me.

Poetry: Dear John
Workers Online reader Rob Mullen shares some personal correspondence with our glorious leader.

N E W S

 Adecco in the Dock

 Chubb Faces Bullying Rap

 Print Company Burns Staff

 Carr "Prefers" Americans

 Drug Cheats’ Eye off Olympics

 Unions Crack Skull

 Howard Backs $7.30 Report

 MCG Vet Kicks Casual Goal

 Parking tickets Gonged

 Safety Meets Low Expectations

 Koori Building for Future

 "Super Sopper" Soaks Up Funds

 Kelly’s Figures go West

 Activists What’s On!

C O L U M N S

Politics
The Westie Wing
As the NSW Labor Government sells its first budget deficit in nine years, the real concern for the union movement is the devil in the detail, especially when it comes to procurement agreements, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Rubber Bullets
Labor's IR spokesman Craig Emerson launches a few characteristic salvos across the Parliamentary chamber

The Locker Room
Tears After Bedtime
Phil Doyle says that it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye

Postcard
Postcard from Vietnam
APHEDA's Hoang Thi Le Hang reports from the north of Vietnam on a project being fund by Australian unionists.,

L E T T E R S
 History Left In The Back Of The Cab
 Libs have Got To Go
 A Boring Bastard
 A Home Of Their Own
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Print Company Burns Staff


A Sydney company that refused to pitch into the fight against last year’s bushfires is out to slash workers earnings by up to $200 a week.

AMWU members at McPhersons Printing, Chullora, have voted to strike in support of casual workmates targeted for wage cuts and job losses.

They set up a picket line after McPhersons abandoned five months of discussions and applied to the IRC to have their existing agreement terminated.

"The company thought it could split the workers by using legal threats and targeting casuals," AMWU representative, Mark West, said. "But everyone is standing together.

"They have drawn a line and said this is not a path we are prepared to go down."

Fifty three of the 113 workers are casuals with up to 15 years service. McPhersons general manager, Malcolm Dag, is demanding that they agree to wage cuts of up to $200 a week, and the loss of 26 positions.

McPhersons is a long-established business but West says its attitudes have changed "markedly' since Dag took control.

He said that became apparent, last year, when it refused one volunteer fire fighter paid time off to join the battle against bushfires ravaging NSW and the ACT. Dag has rejected a claim for Emergency Services leave advanced by workers in current negotiations.

McPhersons no longer employs apprentices and has targeted casuals to slash costs, West says.

"It is a good example of how casualisation is being used to slash wages and conditions. The willingness of these permanents to stand up for casual rights is encouraging," West said.

"It is an important issue if trade unions are going to remain relevant to an increasing number of working Australians."


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