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Issue No. 230 23 July 2004  

Kill the Lawyers
What�s left of the HR Nichols Society must be popping the champagne this week, with a NSW court ruling that sees the triumph of their 20-year battle to kill industrial relations and replace it with a �rule of law�.


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.


 Vandals Hit Sweat Shoppers

 Blow For Union Busters

 Poll Rocks Election Boat

 It�s Official: Eggs Come Second

 Tetra Packs Private Dick

 Workers Demand Act of Contrition

 Wollongong�s $4000 Hamberger

 Company Pays for Casual Affair

 Shame Ships Hide Sausage

 First Test for Death Law

 Convenience Store Detains Student

 Bashed Youth Workers Walk

 Un-Fairfax Leads Paper Chase

 Nile On The Death Law

 ACCC Lays Down Council Code

 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.,

 End Poverty
 The Agony Of The Refugee
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Vandals Hit Sweat Shoppers

A unionist�s car was extensively vandalised in a Marrickville laneway less than 24 hours after he dropped a bucket on suppliers to fashion retailer, Valley Girl, in the Industrial Relations Commission.

Stunned TCFUA official, David Tritton, understood the implications of extensive scratching and gouging on the bodywork of the organisation�s new Holden Crewman.

"When we came out of a building, after visiting a maker's factory, there were two men just standing there watching us," he said. "They were well-built, well-dressed Chinese who stood out in that area.

"They just stared at us as we walked back to the car which had been completely vandalised. It was obvious someone was sending us a message."

The previous day, Tritton had told an IRC industrial committee that a list of addresses of sub-contractors provided by Valley Girl supplier, Stephanelle, had been bodgey.

Under the Clothing Industry Award, suppliers like Stephanelle are required to comply with requests to supply sub-contractors names and addresses. The measure is designed to drive sweatshops, typically paying non-English speaking women as little as $3 an hour, out of the industry.

One Stephanelle address turned out to be a surveyor's office, another a car audio showroom and a third was home to a furniture retailer. Others simply didn't exist.

Tritton told Workers Online of uncovering a Chester Hill garage equipped with 20 sewing machines and Stephanelle documentation indicatiing that blouses, tops and pants were headed for Valley Girl and upmarket boutique, Dolls Only.

The operator of that premises said he had been manufacturing for Stephanelle for two years but could only provide wage records and Workers Comp policies, for two people, covering the week he was sprung.

His records showed he was receiving $4 a unit and sub-contracting the garments out at $3 a unit.

"We estimate, to meet award minimums only, manufacturers would have to receive at least $5.29 a unit," Tritton explained. "That doesn't include workers compensation, super or any profit margin.

"There is no way in the world that any person actually doing the work could be paid the minimum legal hourly rate, on those figures," he said.

Tritton told the industrial committee that three Stephanelle sub-contractors listed company offices at fictitious Melbourne addresses but issued tax invoices from non-existent Sydney bases.

He told Workers Online of MTN, a company purporting to be registered at 30 Henry St, Abbotsford, Victoria; while billing customers from 20 Henry St, Abbotsford, NSW.

While still sending out GST invoices from Abbotsford, Sydney, he said, it hadn't held an ABN number since July, last year.

Tritton said the bodgey addresses and false invoicing highlighted the need for companies, like Valley Girl, to sign the retailers code of conduct.

The TCFUA asked Valley Girl, boasting 74 retail outlets across Australia, to meet about the issues exposed by Stephanelle's documentation. However, a Valley Girl official said its CEO was "too busy".

Tritton said the vandalism incident wouldn't put TCFUA officials off the trail of companies exploiting outworkers or using sweatshops.

"We are not going to be intimidated," Tritton said. "These checks will continue until companies face up to their legal and moral responsibilities."

Tritton said the vandalism had been reported to police.


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