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Issue No. 237 10 September 2004  

Bully Busting
No one likes a bully � and if the response to Labor Council�s bullying conference is anything to go by, there are more of these irritating creatures in Australian workplaces than ever before.


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.


 Position Vacant for Bully

 Reality Dawns on Delta

 Stink Rises from Dunnies

 Girl Power Slays Oil Giants

 CFMEU on Highway to Hell

 Super Deal for Mums

 Millionaires Pay Peppercorn Wages

 Hardie Fighters Go Dutch

 Exporting Your Bank Details

 Teachers In Crossfire

 Strikers Unplug Western Power Play

 Health Changes Shift Barrier

 Meredith and Me

 Activists What's On!


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.

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

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.

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

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Strikers Unplug Western Power Play

Collie maintenance tradesmen defied "massive" pressure for 59 days to win wage increases and shorter working hours.

One hundred and twenty workers at the Muja and Kwinana Power Stations stared down the WA state government, the AIRC, Western Power and their employer, United KG, during an eight week strike.

Finally, with threats of power blackouts in the air, United KG came to the negotiating table and agreed to increased wages by 18 percent over three years, and move towards a 36-hour week.

The tradesmen ignored AIRC return to work orders until United KG started making concessions.

AMWU WA branch secretary, Jock Ferguson, said pressure to fold had been "massive".

"It came from all directions," Ferguson said. "The AIRC, state government, the contractor and Western Power, itself, but our people stood firm.

"Eight weeks is a considerable investment to make but they weren't prepared to be treated as second class citizens. In the end, it paid off for the workers, their families, and the Collie community."

Months of negotiations with United KG had gone nowhere when the workers voted to strike in support of their claims.

At the height of the strike, Western Power claimed to have stockpiled more than $30 million worth of oil and to have imported mobile generators in a bid to stave off blackouts across the state, while United KG advertised for replacement labour.

Western Power chief executive, Doug Aberle, warned blackouts were likely unless the tradesmen went back to work within days.

Three weeks later, maintenance tradesmen returned after United KG agreed to wage increases and ...

- a 37.5 hour week to be implemented from next year with talks to continue about arrangements for a 36 hour week in the final year of the agreement

- annual five percent increases in allowance

- improved redundancy provisions

- the introduction of a special trades allowance

- casual loadings to be argued before the WA IRC with understanding that Metal Trades Award movements be flowed on to Collie workers


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