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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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"Super Sopper" Soaks Up Funds

John Howard has been warned that his "election sop" to small business threatens the retirement incomes of hundreds of thousands of Australians.

Labor Council assistant secretary, Mark Lennon, said some operators would use Howard's announcement that they would only be required to report super payments annually, to return to practises that had seen workers dudded of millions of dollars.

The Prime Minister intends scrapping quarterly reporting which was introduced after widespread rorting left workers across the country without super they had earned.

In recent months, Workers Online has reported two cases in which Sydney employers rorted their staff out of hundreds of thousands in accrued super.

Angry workers picketed an Alexandria print shop in March after they learned, one of the principals, Alan David, had been involved in an operation that deprived 70 employees of $1 million in super, salary sacrifices and medical insurance payments.

In April, six former employees of Stratti Ocean and Earthworks, explained how they had lost up to $30,000 worth of super a head, when their boss, Troy Stratti, put his company into voluntary liquidation.

They claimed that Stratti's failure to provide documentation had been a key factor in their loss of retirement savings.

Lennon labelled the Howard announcement an "election sop".

"There was a big announcement about cutting red tape for small business but what has been cut?" Lennon asked. "Principally, the rights of employees to keep track of their retirement incomes.

"Many people find it difficult to keep track of contributions made on their behalves. The fact they will only receive information every 12 months will only make it more difficult.

"While, legally, they still have to pay quarterly, you just watch how many will take this as a green light to go back to annual payments.

"This is discrimination against people employed by small businesses and it won't help our retirement income problems."

ASU secretary, Michael Want, said the move to quarterly reporting had given people greater income security at a time when thousands of employers were declaring bankruptcy every years.


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