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Issue No. 228 09 July 2004  

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.


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.


 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!


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

 History Left In The Back Of The Cab
 Libs have Got To Go
 A Boring Bastard
 A Home Of Their Own
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MCG Vet Kicks Casual Goal

A former policeman who spends his working days at AFL and international cricket matches has punched a hole in MCG discrimination against casuals.

Magistrate Michael Smith has ruled 70-year-old Frank Clohesy is entitled to long service leave, opening the way for 50 other attendants with over 15 years service, to cash-in on the entitlement.

The Melbourne Magistrate's Court rejected the argument put forward by the Melbourne Cricket Club, operators of the MCG, that Clohesy had no entitlement because his employment had been a series of "one-off appointments".

Smith ruled Clohesy had given more than 15 years service and was therefore "entitled to long service leave ... in accordance with relevant provisions of the Act."

MEAA organiser, Louise O'Connor, said the victory was vindication of attendants' decisions to join a collective. It wouldn't, she said, have been practical for individuals to have challenged the MCG stance, even though they were in the right.

O'Connor estimated the average attendant stood to gain about $1500 through the victory but that taking the case would cost between $5000 and $10,000.

She said the MEAA had been arguing the case with the MCG since Victorian racing clubs agreed to recognise casual entitlements. Fifty long-serving attendants wrote to cricket club, last year, asking for long service but had been knocked back.

O'Connor confirmed the union would now seek a meeting with the employer to discuss implications of the decision on the cases of its other 49 members.

The MEAA is calling on the Victorian Government to change the state's Long Service Act to make it clear that casuals qualify, and to lift entitlements to levels provided by other states.

Caring and Sharing

Meanwhile, unions have finalised an agreement with employers that will deliver carers' leave to more than two million Australians classified as casual workers.

The deal came as the parties agreed to double paid leave for permanent employees to care for family members who were ill or facing emergency situations. That entitlement has gone from five to 10 days a year.

ACTU president, Sharan Burrow, said that while casuals still might not get paid for looking after family members they could "feel comfortable" about not having to risk their jobs.

Under the agreement ...

- casual workers have the right to take up to two days off work to care for family members in the wake of births, deaths, illnesses or unexpected emergencies.

- there is no limit on the number of two-day absences a casual make take during a year, but they will be unpaid.

- They will be required to provide "reasonable" notice of required time off and "reasonable evidence" of family emergencies, such as medical certificates, letters from teachers or carers, or stat decs.

There are more than 2.2 million casual workers in Australia covered by this agreement, including 400,000 mothers with young children.


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