The Official Organ of LaborNET
click here to view the latest edition of Workers Online
The Official Organ of LaborNET
Free home delivery
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
About Workers Online
Latest Issue
Print Latest Issue
Previous Issues
Advanced Search

other LaborNET sites

Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
Evatt Foundation

Labor for Refugees



Blow For Union Busters

BHP�s Pilbara union-busting campaign has been dealt a body blow with big wage increases bringing 400 union members onto equal terms with workmates who signed AWAs.

ACTU organiser, Will Tracey, called last week�s second arbitrated award settlement �huge�, revealing it had eliminated $10,000 to $20,000 a year differentials BHP had used to try to convert the whole Pilbara workforce onto individual agreements.

The settlement, handed down by the three-man WA IRC full bench, followed the mining giant's refusal to negotiate with unions. It provided union members with 12 percent increases, and flowed on all other benefits applying to non-unionists.

Tracey said the decision meant 32 percent wage increases since, July 2002, for unionised iron ore workers. Over that time, their super entitlements have risen from eight percent of earnings to 15.75 percent.

Perhaps, more importantly, the commission signalled its frustration with BHP's continuing resistance to collective bargaining.

It left the expiry date open, suggesting it could further increase award rates if BHP ups the ante by bouncing up earnings of AWA employees, and expressed "concerns" over the prospect of award workers receiving inferior treatment.

"The bench has formally recognised the concept of equal pay for equal work," Tracey said. "It has flowed on all benefits, equalised pay rates and called on the company to return to the bargaining table.

"Effectively, it means that BHP's strategy to break the unions has failed.

"We call on the Big Australian to start behaving like an Australian and accept the umpire's decision. That would mean sitting down and negotiating a collective agreement with workers' representatives."

The federal government saw mineral developments in the Pilbara as an opportunity to advance its non-union agenda. BHP picked up the ball in 1999 and offered massive differentials in wages and conditions to anyone who would walk away from the unions and sign an AWA.

Unions bled members until the ACTU dispatched Tracey to the region to co-ordinate fightback activities between the AMWU, AWU, CEPU, CFMEU and TWU.

Membership stabilised at about 40 percent, two years ago, and has grown slightly since.

Last week the five Pilbarra unions agreed to further formalise their alliance by combining resources as the Pilbarra Mineworkers Union (PMU).

Tracey said the Commission determination had been the first "big victory" for the PMU, coming one day after its establishment.

He said formal recognition for the PMU showed state and federal unions were prepared to listen to the voices of Pilbara members.

"Joining together is our way of building our union and regaining our strength on the job," Tracey said. "It is an endorsement of our campaigning to date and proof that unions are hearing local workers on the best way forward for this region."

BHP Billiton sought to play down the significance of the united front, last week. An unnamed spokesman told the media the PMU would have little impact.

"We are just bemused by it," he said.


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 230 contents

email workers to a friend printer-friendly version latest breaking news from labornet

Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue

© 1999-2002 Workers Online
Workers Online is a resource for the Labour movement
provided by the Labor Council of NSW
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005

Powered by APT Solutions
Labor Council of NSW Workers Online