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Issue No. 236 03 September 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Interest Overboard
A tired, ageing government tries to scare the electorate into re-electing it on the basis of a lie. Sound familiar? Yep, John Howard is going to the polls again.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: True Matilda
Former senior bureaucrat John Menadue coordinated the group of 43 calling for truth in government; and now he has bigger fish to fry.

Politics: State of Play
Are all political parties the same? Workers Online tries to cut through the jargon to compare the major parties' approaches to key policy areas.

Industrial: Capital Dilemmas
Public Private Partnerships amount to privatisation by stealth. Or do they? Jim Marr investigates.

Unions: Rhodes Scholars
Tim Brunero discovers how the Electrical Trades Union is doing its best to ease the national apprentice crisis.

National Focus: Rennovating the Lodge
Noel Hester previews how unions will be fighting the federal election - on the ground and online.

International: People Power
Over the next four years there is a real potential a major struggle will take place for workers’ rights and the creation of truly democratic unions in China., writes Andrew Casey

Economics: A Bit Rich
Who Gets What? Why? And So What?, Frank Stilwell reviews the BRW's Rich List

History: Mine Shafts
It's 25 years since Nymboida passed the baton to United, writes Peter Murray

Safety: Sick Of Fighting
Former RAAF engineers could be sitting on a health time bomb, Tim Brunero reports.

Organising: Building a Wave
Community groups, unions and social movements all practice organising, wrties Tony Brown and Amanda Tattersall.

Poetry: Anger In The Bush(es)
How dare any Liberal suggest that the Prime Minister is a lying rodent! Resident bard David Peetz reports on the outrage that this slur has justifiably caused.

Review: The Battle Of Algiers
Tim Brunero writes The Battle of Algiers is a coldly objective, almost scientific anatomy of revolution.

Culture: The Word On The Street
Phil Doyle reports on how the Australian working class experience lives on through the words of the remarkable Geoff Goodfellow.

N E W S

 Sprung: Howard Liberal with Truth

 Yanks Demand Racism

 The Greening of Labour

 Mums Move to Ease Squeeze

 Flying Kangaroo Goes to Water

 Health Warning for Bank Robbers

 Heritage Goes to Waste

 Freespirit in Hiding

 Offensive Toilets Threaten Pupils

 Telstra Dials Workplace Acquiescence

 P-Plate Nightmare for Young

 Free Loaders on Notice

 Funny Money Raises Interest

 Privatisation Debate Energised

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Hail to the Metro-Sexual!
If the cultural shift required in the workplace to give greater security to working families was broadly accepted the ACTU would not be locked in an adversarial Work and Family test case argues Sharan Burrow.

Politics
The Westie Wing
In his latest missive from Macquarie Street our resident Parliamentary commentator, Ian West, walks us through issues around the PBS.

Postcard
How Bush Lost His Wings
Tracking the National Guard Career of the Fatuous Flyboy from New Haven, Jeffrey St Clair.

The Locker Room
The Name of the Game
Phil Doyle wonders whether we are barracking for the sponsor or the team.

Postcard
Women to Women
APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad is working to create opportunities for Palestinian women living in Lebanese refugee camps.

L E T T E R S
 Gold Gold Gold for Neolibs
 Co-operating At All Costs
 Fan Mail
 All Good Except You
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Telstra Dials Workplace Acquiescence


Telstra is trying to ram through a new generation of AWAs before the federal election.

Australia's biggest company has informed thousands of employees they can only have "certainty" in their "employment relationships" if they sign up to the individual, non-union agreements.

The CPSU is advising members to sit on the offers and accusing the company, which has shed more than 50,000 jobs in the past decade, of "shedding crocodile tears".

"It is a bit rich for Telstra to suddenly express concern for employees' job security, given the corporation has axed 50,000 jobs in the past decade, 15,000 of them in the last four years," the union website advises recipients of the latest push.

It was responding to a letter from the company's group general manager, Bill Scales, that expressed "concerns" about ALP policy to abolish AWAs on the expiry of existing contracts.

Scales said Telstra's new AWA campaign was driven by its commitment to ensuring "employees have certainty in their employment arrangements".

The CPSU says Telstra isn't just pitching to existing AWA staff but also bidding to sign over workers on collective agreements prior to the election.

It advises Scales to "take a chill pill" and accept the election result.

ALP front benchers Craig Emerson and Lindsay Tanner have waded into the argument, demanding that Telstra come clean on what Labor policy would mean for AWA employees and end its scare campaign.

"Labor calls on Telstra to make it clear to employees that any condition of employment that can be in an AWA can also be in a collective agreement," Emerson said.

The latest question and answer document circulated to Telstra managers supports ALP and union claims that AWAs are not individually negotiated agreements but take-it or leave-it positions generated by the employer.

Telstra managers are told to tell employees "no" if they asked whether or not they can vary wording in company AWAs.

"Whatever the second A in AWA stands for, in Telstra's case, it is certainly not agreement," Emerson said. "Perhaps it's acquiescence."


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