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Issue No. 231 30 July 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 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!

C O L U M N S

Politics
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
Postcard from Vietnam
APHEDA's Hoang Thi Le Hang reports from the north of Vietnam on a project being fund by Australian unionists.,

L E T T E R S
 Left Holding The Baby
 Tom On Alienation
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Breakthrough Saves 87 Positions


A groundbreaking agreement thrashed out by unions has delivered an extra $1.6 million in entitlements to redundant workers and saved 87 jobs.

Workers at troubled Victorian die-caster Forgecast prevented an immediate liquidation of the company at a Creditors Meeting last week.

Unions negotiated to ensure that the Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) governing the rescue plan would keep the company trading for the next two years.

"We've told the company we're serious about the future," says Zeljko Curak from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU). "We'll be closely monitoring the situation for the next two years."

Curak says that while there are no guarantees there is hope for the workers with leading vehicle component manufacturers, including Unidrive and Ion, indicating that they are willing to remain Forgecast customers.

The Forgecast workers were presented with a "terrible choice between two evils" according to Australia workers Union (AWU) National Secretary Bill Shorten because of management failures and the Howard Government's weak corporate and redundancy laws.

Mr Shorten criticised the National Australia Bank - a secured creditor of Forgecast for $2.6 million - for refusing to share the workers' losses.

"The Howard Government's broken promise to stop banks having priority over employees in insolvencies has left the Forgecast workers more than $2 million worse off," says Shorten.


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