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.
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
Left Holding The Baby
Postcard from Vietnam
APHEDA's Hoang Thi Le Hang reports from the north of Vietnam on a project being fund by Australian unionists.,
Tom On Alienation
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Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
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CFMEU Bowls Howard Model
Another hole has been blasted in the Howard Government’s strategy to deunionise workplaces with the federal court ruling the CFMEU should have access to a Burrup Peninsula site where workers are employed on individual contracts.
The federal court, this week, rejected an application by anti-union activist, Len Buckeridge, to deny the CFMEU access his employees on Burrup Fertiliser's Dampier development.
CFMEU state secretary, Kevin Reynolds, called the decision a "major victory for basic workers' rights.
"This has ramifications right around the country," Reynolds said. "People have exactly the same problems at mines in Kalgoorlie, South Australia and Queensland where employers argue that AWAs effectively bar unions from involvement.
"Well, here is a federal court decision that makes it clear we can talk about recruitment, the benefits of collective agreements and health and safety."
Reynolds steered away from the temptation of taunting his old sparring partner Buckeridge, a hard-right favourite, who has publicly claimed to have made a "hit list" of trade unionists.
Instead, he said, overseas-owned Burrup Fertilisers should have a "good, long look at itself" for forcing the CFMEU to spend "hard-earned workers' money to establish a basic democratic right".
"Buckeridge is Buckeridge," Reynolds said. "He's a tough nut and he will always go down that line but Burrup Fertilisers is a big corporation that already knew the IRC had ruled in our favour.
"It was Burrup Fertilisers that chose to set the site up as Stalag 13, with pill boxes and sentries, just to prevent workers having contact with the union."
In his decision, however, Justice French said union officials were not authorised to hold industrial meetings with people on AWAs "at a time or in a manner which would be in breach" of individual contracts.
Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, criticised the court decision and suggested the government could appeal.
He said union access would place an "unacceptable burden" on business.
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