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Issue No. 242 15 October 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Historical Revisions
It was a common refrain on Saturday night as we cried in our beers, hurled vitriol at the TV set and wondered how big the shellacking would be this time around: Howard won on a lie.

F E A T U R E S

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 MUAís 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.

N E W S

 Donít Worry, Be Organised

 Senate Faces Family Fight

 Cheques Cashed In Seconds

 "Undemocractic" Taskforce Court Out

 Power to People: On Hold

 Eyes Have It Over Lotto

 Bomb in Santaís Sack

 No Picnic in Park

 Smoking Loophole A Bit Rich

 BlueScope Workers Take Stock

 ABC Radio Clash

 Melbourne Goes Global

 No Justice for Joel

 Mercury Falling in Hobart

 Last Gasp for Monitoring

 Kiddie Photos Victory

 Thousands Up for Grabs

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

Politics
True Lies
Labor Council secretary John Robertson argues Itís Time Ė for an IR reality check.

Parliament
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

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

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

L E T T E R S
 Giving Your Soul Away
 Invest in Dignity Part III
 You Need Help
 Medicare Woes
 Whose Party Is It Anyway?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Cheques Cashed In Seconds


Cheques that take five days to clear are being processed in 3.7 seconds while banks are pushing unrealistic targets on staff so they have longer to gamble your money on the markets.

Workers Online has received internal bank documentation threatening cheque processors with the sack if they donít further increase productivity.

Banks are upping the ante to get their hands on punters cash quicker with a move to restructure cheque clearance that will further slash jobs without delivering faster cheque clearance times for customers.

Cheque processors start at 4pm and can work until anything from 11.30pm to 4am manually entering amounts into computers.

"ANZ recently noticed that there was an increase in productivity of 9%," says James Woodcock, an organiser for the Financial Sector Union. "Instead of congratulating staff they upped targets by 9%."

Woodcock pointed to lamentable occupational health and safety standards at the Unisys operated cheque clearance centre in Sydney where the workloads creating risks from overuse injuries were compounded by the stress of job insecurity.

A worker at the Unisys centre, Sandra Nikolic, had been raising concerns for over a year.

"We had a situation where cords were running down walkways and over desks, 'unslippable mats' slipping and Unisys didn't do anything about it," says Woodcock. "Magically when the FSU was mentioned things started happening overnight."

Through the actions of Nikolic and other workers ten of eleven outstanding safety issues have been able to be addressed.

Cheque clearance workers are anxiously waiting to hear of further developments on restructuring within Australian clearance centres that could see their jobs disappear.


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