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Issue No. 231 30 July 2004  

Bright Sparks
Australia is facing a major crisis that could affect all of us in the decades to come, a shortage of skilled apprentices, tomorrow’s tradespeople who are the backbone of the economy.


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.


 Goons, Scabs in Desert Showdown

 High Jump for Hardies

 Task Force in Hiding

 Court Cans Radio Bully

 Trade Deal Muddies Water

 Union Saves Kevin’s Bacon

 CFMEU Bowls Howard Model

 Mildura Bans Toxic Avenger

 Breakthrough Saves 87 Positions

 Two Million Jobs Traded

 Death Halts Sydney Tunnel

 Trainees Score $200,000

 Apprentice Crisis Worsens

 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.,

 Left Holding The Baby
 Tom On Alienation
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Goons, Scabs in Desert Showdown

Scabs and un-badged goons had to sleep rough in the Western Australian outback after attempts to break a picket line were beaten off by solidarity between miners and constructions workers.

The high-stakes stand-off is unfolding at Yandi, about 150km north of Newman in the Pilbara, where miners with BHP contractor Henry Walker Eltin are resisting the imposition of another round of AWAs, backed by big financial inducements.

Less than a fortnight after BHP was ordered by the IRC to pay equal wages and conditions to union members, it appears to be re-fighting the issue through its remote-site contractor.

For the first time in WA, miners overwhelmingly rejected AWAs when Henry Walker Eltin put them on the table, this month. Only 15 percent of the workforce accepted the increased earnings.

A picketline was thrown around the mine and residential camp, last Sunday, after workers learned the company was flying in Global Security guards, many with military training, to lock them down.

Henry Walker Eltin moved AWA workers out of the camp on Sunday afternoon, bunking them down at nearby Hammersley Iron, alongside security guards and management contractors.

However, Hammersley construction workers demanded the removal of "scabs" from their camp and those preparing for the assault on Yandi were eventually turfed out.

The dispute turned nasty on Monday when the company's force used vehicles to try and smash its way through the picket of AWU, AMWU and CEPU members.

"It's Patrick's all over again," ACTU organiser Will Tracey reported from the front line. "We've got un-badged goons here in the standard blue overalls. At least two picketers were hit by a car when they first tried to break through.

"This is a very remote site and we are worried about the safety of our people. We are a long way from anywhere and a long way from anybody."

By Monday, 14 police had been flown to Yandi from Newman, Karatha and Port Hedland stations.

Some of the tensions were relieved when miners returned to work on Thursday where they will continue their industrial campaign through regular stop work meetings.

They are demanding pay equity and the right of new starters to decide whether they are employed on AWAs or a collective agreement. The employer insists it will only employ those who accept non-union individual contracts.

"They have tried the old trick of buying people off and it didn't work," Tracey said. "This whole dispute is about the contractor's refusal to recognise equal pay and freedom of choice. That's all our people are holding out for.

"It is a very important issue for workers everywhere. The people on the job have been fantastic but the company is playing hardball and we need help from the broader union movement."

Miners and supporters will hold a rally outside Henry Walker Eltin's Perth office on Monday morning.


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