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Issue No. 229 16 July 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

The Sins of Our Fathers
The James Hardie story unfolding before the NSW Government Commission of Inquiry is not about business, it is not about politics, it is not even about the law.

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

 Noose Tightens on James Hardie

 ‘Payback’ in Mildura

 Beware of Expensive Imitations

 Death Law on Tassie Books

 Boss Goes Off Prematurely

 Goats Clip Security

 Vale Frank Altoff

 Gnarly Break Hits FoC

 Forgecast Reneges on Millions

 Workmates Back Whistleblower

 "Thuggery" from AIDS Chiefs

 Keystone Cops In Timber Town

 Waste Work Binned

 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
 Supersize Hypocrisy
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Forgecast Reneges on Millions


A company that gave cast iron assurances over entitlements has collapsed, taking over $1 million in workers money.

One hundred and thirty workers face the loss of their jobs and up to $5.8 million in redundancy entitlements at the Forgecast factory in eastern Melbourne, despite the company having assured them their entitlements were secure, during enterprise bargaining negotiations, last year.

"We cannot rely on the word of the employer anymore," says Dave Oliver from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU). "Steps have to be taken to secure entitlements".

Workers from the Forgecast factory demonstrated outside the office of local federal Liberal MP, Phil Baressi last week, in protest against the inadequacy of the Howard Government's redundancy scheme and insolvency laws.

"The workers are very angry, says AMWU organiser Zeljko Curak. "There is not much trust in management."

"Nonetheless they are determined to fight on."

Forgecast was placed in voluntary administration under PricewaterhouseCoopers two weeks ago after losing export contracts to supply car parts to the United States.

Unions have been negotiating with administrators and other Forgecast customers in a bid to keep the company trading.

Forgecast supplies to motor vehicle component manufacturers and there is some concern that the collapse of the company may lead to stand-downs at major car manufacturing plants.

In a 'best case' scenario workers are looking at losing over 25 percent of their entitlements, with no guarantee for the remainder.

The General Employee Entitlements Redundancy Scheme (GEERS) will pay less than half of the workers' lawful entitlements.

Brother Howard

The Australian Workers' Union National Secretary Bill Shorten said Prime Minister John Howard used taxpayers' money to pay 100% of workers' entitlements owed by his brother Stan Howard's company National Textiles in 2000, but would not even pay half of the Forgecast workers' entitlements.

"The Forgecast workers just want Mr Howard to treat them like workers in his brother's company," Mr Shorten said. "Otherwise many long-serving workers could be short-changed by tens of thousands of dollars.


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