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Issue No. 243 22 October 2004  

The Perfect Storm
The storm clouds are gathering on the industrial horizon, an unholy trinity of a hostile legislative agenda, a radical High Court decision and emboldened employers.


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.


 Hardie Rewards Asbestos Rats

 Kentucky Fried Kids

 Miner Shafts Democracy

 Fine Drop in Ocean of Blood

 Sydney Water Outsources Brains

 Head Injuries to No Injuries

 Bosses Celebrate with Sack-athon

 Kangaroo Strikebreakers Spotlighted

 Officers Change Customs

 Union Backs League

 Carr Trouble At Port Botany

 Pratt Backs Warwick Farm Loser

 Students Fight Summer Blues

 Activists What's On!


True Lies
Labor Council secretary John Robertson argues Itís Time Ė 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.

 Historical Reversion?
 Whose prosperity?
 Shop Till the Worker Drops
 Unreported Views
 Bobís Silver Anniversary
 Hit And Myth
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Tool Shed

Get A Life

Qantas high flyer Margaret Jackson gives us all a timely reminder as to why the big end of town has no life.


Serial Company Director Margaret Jackson sent a message back from her slow orbit around the planet Jupiter this week to remind us of just how out of touch she is with the real world.

"I can't believe that thousands of staff are focussed on this as the most significant thing in their life," said Jacko of her recent pay rise in the vicinity of 66 percent.

Jackson is the head of the team that is currently engaging in a bit of good old-fashioned scab herdi...err...customer protection.

It would appear that the one thing they are trying to protect customers from is staff that have job security and decent training.

Our Tool Of The Week falls into the economist's trap of being totally correct while totally missing the point.

Margaret is one of those wonderful corporate robots that dream of a world where we all do nothing except work and sleep, preferably with very little sleep.

It's probably quite true that for many Qantas employees there are many things that are more significant than their jobs.

It's called having a life.

It might be the partner's latest hairstyle or even what they're going to do with that bit of the backyard where the Wisteria used to be.

It might be dad's health, that recipe for mint carrot cake or the latest Bryce Courtney novel.

But it doesn't follow that her and her mates helping themselves to a pay rise the size of the GDP of a small African country doesn't get up their nose.

While it mightn't be the most significant thing in their lives, Margaret, it doesn't necessarily follow that it isn't the most significant thing in their working lives.

Given that Margaret and co seem to enjoy treating their staff like something that you'd scrape off your shoe after a walk in Sydney Park, we can only congratulate her for revealing with exquisite timing.

The feeling amongst the people at Qantas who actually do work (as opposed to those that sit around mouthing off inanities like our Tool Of the Week) is not exactly one of rapturous joy for the good fortune that has befallen Jackson and her dopey colleagues.

Here's a tip for our Tool Of The Week.

Get a life Margaret, and you might just get some hint of why your workers aren't too keen to let you rubbish theirs.


The most inspiring interpretation of this week's tool get's a souvenir edition of Ship of Tools. Deface the Tool of the Week, click the button above to post your artwork, fill out the form and send your entry in and we'll post the winners next week in the Tool of the Week Gallery.


Ship of Tools - All the tools in one shed!

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