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Issue No. 238 17 September 2004  

Going Gangbusters?
The Prime Minister has put the economy front and centre in this election campaign, asserting - without a hint of irony – that he is the only one to trust with the national economy


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.


 Mind Games Off The Rails

 Kodak Blurs Jobs Picture

 Whistleblower Stitched Up

 Ranger Incompetence Saves Lives

 Skelton in Telstra Closet

 Capt Cook Discovers Flexibility

 Optus Opts Out

 Hardie Lemon in Orange County

 One Rule for Qantas

 Mum Takes on Bullies

 Costa’s Train Crash

 TV Clash Using Visual Ammunition

 Mormons In Asbestos Blue

 Apprentices Lose Out

 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.

 The Abbott Youth
 Invest In Dignity!
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Kodak Blurs Jobs Picture

Six-day working weeks and plans to hire additional staff have left question marks hanging over Kodak’s decision to punt 650 workers from its Melbourne operation.

Kodak blamed the "international market" for the bombshell it dropped on Coburg but affected workers told AMWU officials they had been on six-day weeks up until the announcement, and another 14 people had been scheduled to start today (Friday).

The American multi-national barred union officials, including AMWU national secretary Doug Cameron and his Victorian counterpart Dave Oliver, from the meeting where it told staff they were finished.

Oliver said Kodak had "totally mismanaged" the issue and called on it to "come clean" about the situation.

"We want to see their business plans and the arguments on which they are basing this closure. Members have told us they have been working increased hours," Oliver said.

"In the paper area, they have been doing six days weeks and expected 14 new starters to begin today. At the moment, it seems, Kodak's actions don't tally with its words.

"Kodak has treated these people with contempt and our mission is to save jobs, as many as possible. If we can only save one job it will be disappointing but it will be a better situation than we are in today."

AMWU officials brushed a city briefing with corporate lawyers to arrive at the Coburg plant in time for the announcement but were refused entry to the site and relegated to interviewing members as they left.

Oliver said Kodak hadn't responded to the union's first question - had it, at any stage, approached state or federal government about possible assistance for preserving jobs?

"In the middle of a federal election campaign, you would think, they would be in a good position to improve the situation if they wanted to," he said.

The AMWU is calling for a meeting with Kodak, the state and federal governments.

It is insisting that if jobs must go, the company offer voluntary redundancy across its operation.

Kodak blamed its decision to chop 650 production jobs on what it said was the international victory of digital over film. Four hundred administrative, sales and stores jobs will remain in Melbourne.

The company has rejected suggestions that Coburg jobs will be exported to a cheap labour site in China.


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