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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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Capt Cook Discovers Flexibility

Employers opposing NSW Labor Council’s groundbreaking Secure Employment Test Case want to remove any guarantees on part-timers’ earnings or hours of work.

Captain Cook Cruises boss, Anthony Haworth, made that clear on the first day of employer testimony to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission full bench.

Haworth said his company could employ more part-time staff as long as it wasn't obliged to offer them work or money.

"Ideally," he said, he would like to offer part-time workers "zero, total flexibility".

When Labor Council counsel put it to Haworth that he would not guarantee hours at all, he replied "you are making it sound dreadful. I guess the thing they would get out of it is pro rata holiday pay and sick leave and security of tenure of some kind. They would know that they are part of a core of people who would be given permanent accord, permanent status in the business, permanent part time status."

Haworth parroted the John Howard line that the key to greater employment opportunities with businesses like his was "flexibility" where, he reiterated, guaranteed hours for employers would be "ideally none".

Haworth was opposing guaranteed minimum hours of work contained in the part time section of the Caterers State Award.

Captain Cook Cruises, he said, operated four vessels on Sydney Harbour every day of the year with a permanent workforce of seven, supplemented by casual labour.

He agreed Captain Cook had the "work capacity" to employ more permanent masters and engineers than it did.

"You could put that case forward," Haworth said. "Yes."

Metalliferous Mining representative, Simon Billing, told the hearing that labour hire was helpful to companies who wanted to limit their Worker Compensation premiums.

He said a "predecessor rule" landed new owners with the claims history of a previous mine operator.

Billings said that if Labor Council's claim for the right to convert to permanent employment had been in effect it could have prevented the continued operation of Cobar's Elouera Mine when new owners used labour hire to avoid being landed with the claims history built up by self-insurer Pasminco.

NSW Labor Council is arguing for provisions that would ...

- entitle regular casuals to choose permanency after six months service with the same employer

- entitle labour hire employees to employment with the host employer after six months doing the same job for the same employer

- commit employers to full consultation with employees and relevant unions prior to contracting out, and to guaranteeing existing jobs, wages and conditions.

The case is continuing.


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