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Issue No. 241 08 October 2004  

That’s All Folks!
Perhaps the most depressing part of this federal election campaign has been the Howard Government’s success, with the willing assistance of the media, of typecasting the union movement as some sort of cartoon bogeyman.


Interview: The Last Bastian
AMWU state secretary Paul Bastian has been at the centre of the three year battle to bring James Hardie to account.

Unions: High and Dry
Jim Marr unpacks the recent High Court Electrolux decision to test whether the ruling matches the media hype.

Security: Liquid Borders
The Howard Government loves to trumpet its national security credentials but a close look at its record in shipping sinks the myth argues MUA’s Zoe Reynolds.

Industrial: No Bully For You
Phil Doyle reports on how bringing dignity and respect to the workplace is undermining bullies.

History: Radical Brisbane
Radical Brisbane extends the 'Radical City' series into the Red North. Two experienced activists, academics and writers turn South East Queensland history on its head.

International: No Vacancies
More than 1400 hotel union workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 2, are on strike at four major hotels in San Francisco, California, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Life After Capitalism
A situation that all anarchists dream of? Michael Albert has been more than dreaming., writes Neale Towart

Technology: Cyber Winners
Labourstart's Eric Lee looks at a good news story of global online campaigning that has delivered a victory.

Poetry: Do It Yourself Poetry
Teaser: Wondering why the polls are all over the place? Ask our resident bard and psephologist.

Review: Hard Labo(u)r
The Voice of Southern Labor highlights the role music played in the 1930's US textile strikes, but more than that it provides a lucid insight into the roots of modern capitalism and some truly organic organising, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Telstra Dogs on Injured Woman

 Strike Three and We’re Out

 Boxall Beats Hasty Retreat

 Ashfield Moves on Home Truths

 Pratt in Warwick Farm Plunge

 Robert Reich's 2020 Vision

 Numbers Racket at Yandi

 Executive Pay Blue Looms

 Crazy Mike’s Fire Sale

 Kids Remember Kids

 DIY Security For Child Care

 Canada’s Asbestos Outrage

 Aussie Kids Thrown Overboard


True Lies
Labor Council secretary John Robertson argues It’s Time – for an IR reality check.

The Westie Wing
Much work has been done in the past to ease the plight of clothing outworkers in New South Wales. It's time to step up the pressure, as sweatshops and clothing contract work are thriving stronger than ever, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Who Started the Class War?
Evan Jones looks across the Australian political landscape and asks who are the real class warriors?

The Locker Room
First Past The Post
Phil Doyle is coming up in class and is all the better for recent racing

Westie Wing
Our favourite state MP returns for his monthly Macquarie Street wrap.

Positive Action
Australian unionists are helping give hope to Filipino workers living with HIV/AIDS.

 Invest In Dignity - Part II
 No Credit
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Strike Three and We’re Out

Western Sydney Orbital workers won reinstatement for the last of three sacked delegates when a contractor ditched a ruse that would have left employees without a negotiated agreement.

Piling Contractors Queensland moved its employees to new entity, Piling Contractors Australia, in a last ditch bid to defeat delegate protection clauses negotiated with construction unions.

The move was supported by the Master Builders Association but came unstuck after 10 site delegates fronted the Federal Industrial Relations Commission, last Wednesday.

The company backed off and the delegate returned to work on the motorway extension, pending a meeting of the Board of Reference, established to deal with issues of alleged discrimination against representatives.

The decision averted the possibility of further industrial disruption after workers struck for 24 hours, last week, in support of all three delegates and demands for better safety standards.

CFMEU delegates from subcontractors, Nace, Piling Contractors and McCourt Dando Trenches had been sacked in a 24-hour blitz against union organisation on the Abigroup-Leightons project. One worker was dismissed, by phone, in the middle of a mass meeting considering the sackings of his colleagues.

CFMEU organiser, Dave Kelly, said the trio had been active in defending workmates' rights, retrieving back pay and promoting safety.

He called their reinstatements "victories for justice and common sense".

"Up to 1000 workers from a number of unions supported these delegates, the jobs they were doing and delegates' rights," Kelly said. "They stood united behind their delegates and that's what got us home. Without that support all our fellows would have got the spear."

Members of the CFMEU, ETU, AWU, AMWU and TWU were involved in the campaign.

The reinstatements of the Nace and McCourt Dando representatives had been achieved at NSW IRC hearings before Commissioner McKenna.

Kelly said it was credit to Kavanagh and the NSW system that a "long, protracted industrial dispute had been nipped in the bud".

There have been tense times on the orbital project with unions fighting to establish organisation in the face of a concerted push to drive them out.

Kelly suggested the stand-off over delegates' rights could mark a watershed in how industrial relations would proceed on the project.

"The principal contractors have agreed to a proper procedure for the recognition of delegates and to work to have their subbies follow procedures that will protect their rights," he said.


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