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Issue No. 233 13 August 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Australian Pastoral
Now the US Australia Free Trade Agreement is signed, sealed and rubberstamped, we will see for ourselves who was right Ė those who argued Nirvana or those who warned of economic Armageddon.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Trading Places
New ACTU International Officer Alison Tate cut her teeth delivering aid to developing nations through APHEDA. Now she is helping chart the global union agenda.

Safety: Snow Job
James Hardie has been drilled into our collective consciousness as a story of power, greed and immorality. It is also, as Jim Marr reports, a tale of human tragedy.

Politics: In the Vanguard
Damien Cahill reveals how neo-liberal think tanks have been at the forefront of the corporate assault upon trade unions and social movements in Australia.

Unions: Gentle Giant Goes For Gold
Donít get between Sydney sparkie Semir Pepic and a gold medal in a dimly lit alley, writes Tim Brunero.

Bad Boss: 'Porker' Chases Blue Ribbon
Perfect Porker, Darren Vincent, brings a history of meat worker shafting to this monthís Bad Boss nomination.

International: Cruising For A Bruising
Europeís big unions are bruised as they watch companies roll over some of their best-organised unionised workplaces demanding longer work hours Ė without any recompense, reports Andrew Casey.

History: Under the Influence
Was John Kerr drunk when he wrote and signed the letter dismissing Edward Gough Whitlam from the Prime Ministership in 1975? Geraldine Willissee investigates.

Economics: Working Capital
Where superannuation fits, where it fails and what we should we do about it. Neale Towart gives the tough answers.

Review: Fahrenheit 9/11
There's many a must see moment in Mike Moore's new flick but beating the propaganda machine at its own game wreaks havoc with wearied bullshit detectors, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Bad Intelligence Rap
When Flood washed away the PM's sins, the truth was once again left high and dry.

Satire: Osama Bin Manchu
During a recent visit to an elderly relative in a nursing home, I was waylaid by an ancient gentleman who insisted I listen to what he had to say, writes Rowan Cahill.

N E W S

 Hardie Boycott Sweeps State

 Vic Bosses Spit Dummy

 Revenge of the Bank Staff

 Young Workers Grounded

 Stab Proof Undies Arresting

 Carr in Cleaners Dust-Up

 Conflict Threatens Rail Safety

 Stats Lead Race to Bottom

 Spotlight on Olympic Stitch-Up

 Bomber Targets Canberra

 Casino's Gamble Backfires

 Choice in Truth Mix

 Activists Whatís On!

C O L U M N S

Parliament
The Westie Wing
The Labor Governments in each State must take the lead to stop the abuse of corporate law in Australia in the absence of action from the Federal Government, as the Inquiry into James Hardieís has highlighted, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Cleaners Deserve Our Support
It's time the state's cleaners were given some support, loyalty and long service leave, writes Chris Christodoulou.

The Locker Room
Half Time At The Football
Phil Doyle wants to have his pie and eat it too.

Tribute
Faithful Servant
Frank Mossfield was one of the labour movementís quiet achievers. Former Labor Council secretary Michael Easson pays tribute.

Postcard
Lessons From East Timor
Just back from a study tour to East Timor, National Reserach Officer with the Construction division of the CFMEU, Ben Stirling, writes about the experience for Workers Online.

L E T T E R S
 Tomís Legal Advice
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News

Revenge of the Bank Staff


Commonwealth Bank staff defied intimidation to protest planned service cuts outside a meeting where their employer announced a $2.57 billion profit.

The move to silence staff followed revelations senior management had categorised staff as "nerds" or "turds".

The references appeared in an internal e-mail circulated to branch managers, which said the nerds "have no life" while turds were good for nothing but "flushing".

According to staff, morale is being torpedoed by management's refusal to listen to proposals for improved workplaces and better service.

"People are feeling insecure about their jobs [and] can't access resources to improve customer service," says Sharron Caddie, from the Finance Sector Union (FSU). "CBA says one thing and does the opposite. David Murray said he wanted people to have 'a reat day at work', that he would support them and listen to their suggestions."

"People are now very disillusioned with this organisation and the way it has flatly ignored their efforts. They are going public and asking customers to support their ideas for a better bank."

Staff planning to take protected action against the bank received a letter from David Marshall, an executive general manager.

The letter reminded staff of the "good faith owed to the bank in your capacity as an employee" and told them that they were not allowed to speak to the media or even identify themselves as Commonwealth bank employees.

Despite the letter staff rallied in Martin Place to oppose moves to slash over 4000 jobs and services to the public.

The bank is planning cuts to 3,700 support staff and 600 positions in lending. These cuts are expected to impact heavily on rural and regional customers as the bank moves to "rationalise" its business lending services.

The FSU (Commonwealth Bank Officers Section) has begun a public campaign to improve service at the bank, launching a petition calling on the bank to lift its game.

"The CBA was indeed once the People's Bank," says Peter Presdee, secretary of the FSU Commonwealth Bank Officers Section. "We will not rest until staff and customers are once again treated in a manner that was essential to the culture of the People's Bank."


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