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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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Company Pays for Casual Affair

ResMed has built a multi-million dollar company on denying sick pay and holidays to thousands of Australians, according to the AMWU.

The union levelled the charge after the medical products manufacturer agreed to "confidential" settlements with three people it washed its hands of on the basis of their labour hire casual status.

ResMed and labour hire outfit, Action James, agreed to the payments after the AMWU launched unfair contracts actions in the Industrial Relations Commission.

"The company had to accept responsibility because these people were employed on regular and systematic terms for up to 11 months before they were let go under the guise of no more work," AMWU organiser, Martin Cartwright, said.

"What ResMed does is 'let people go' and argue they have no rights because they were only casual workers."

It was the second significant hole punched in Resmed's employment practises, after the AMWU, last year, won reinstatement and permanency for a woman who had been "let go" after working five days a week for 37 months.

Cartwright said the results were "important steps" in the campaign to make the market darling face up to its responsibilities as an employer.

Turner Freeman lawyer, Stephen Penning, said the settlement was "significant" because the host employer had accepted responsibility for employees supplied by a labour hire company.

"Given the booming use of labour hire casuals, it's an important use of employment contract law by a union," he said.

ResMed, headed by chief executive officer Peter C Farrell, has become a significant player in the world of medical research and manufacture. Some of its products are ground-breaking.

It is listed on the Australian and US stock markets and has won rave reviews for its financial performances.

In June, last year, the company was listed amongst Business Week's 100 Hot Growth Companies and came in at 89 on Investor's Business Daily's Top 100 Companies in America.

Its latest annual report predicts it will employ 2000 people by the time it relocates, later in the year, to a new home at Sydney's NorWest Business Park.

The problem, according to Cartwright, is ResMed's use of labour hire to try and keep employment responsibilities at arms length.

New starters are supplied by Action James and, at times, 30-40 percent of employees are casuals without access to holidays, sick leave or other basic entitlements.

ResMed is a classic greenfields site where the majority of production workers do not have union of EBA coverage.


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