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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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Letters to the Editor

Shop Till the Worker Drops

For the first and only time this decade Christmas will occur on

a Saturday with the transfer of the Christmas public holidays to the

following Monday and Tuesday. This has allowed thousands of retail employees

to plan to have four days with their family and friends at this holiest of



In the interest of community convenience, job opportunities and reducing a

river of money flowing out of the greater part of queensland into Brisbane

and the coastal tourist areas, the National Retail Association is presently

applying to have the wide-spread opening of retail outlets from Boxing day

to Tuesday inclusive.

Christmas can be a most stressful time for retail employees and shoppers

alike. Shoppers legitimately complain about the length of queues and abysmal

staffing levels. As the only available depositories for such complaints we

can only work to frantic pace and give excuses, out of corporate duty, to

customers who have promoted us into their lives throughout the year by

confiding in us their daily joys and despairs.

Imagine our long-made plans for this oasis of peace, a four day holiday, in

the midst of battle for monetary profit. Plans of eating mum's potato salad,

followed by Christmas pud and cream, a slow and chatty beer with dad and a

knowing wink from mummy-in-law, as I feign sleep in the midst of friendly

family argument.

Apparently "civic and business leaders are concerned that a river of money

will flow out of Toowoomba to the east" as early post-Christmas sales occur

in Brisbane ( "The Chronicle" 16/10/04 ). If the National Retail Association

has it's way Christmas will be reduced to one brief and frantic day. There

will be hurried "hello", "Merry Christmas", " no we can't have a drink,

we're driving","sorry we have to go" as we dash the gauntlet of the

Christmas road toll and spread our ebbing cheer. Surely it is better to

allow a brief flow of money to leave the city than to flood our Christmas

roads with our own blood and heartache. Even better! Encourage the tradition

of family values, that Queenslanders are rightly proud of, to occur in

Brisbane too.

The Shop Distributive and Allied Workers Association is currently battleing

the claims of the National Retail Association and aplying for an additional

"closed" day, New Years Day! It is not a public holiday this time round, it

falls on a Saturday. The public holiday follows on Monday.


When you are shopping, during the week before Christmas, and you notice the

queues at the checkouts extending down the aisles, and checkout operators on

the phone waiting endlessly for their calls for change, you decide whether

jobs have been created or present staff stretched!

As you walk past full trolleys, abandoned within site of queues, you decide

whether these supermarkets have done such a marvellously efficient service

for the community (or squandered a glut of opportunity) that they deserve to

be granted a dispensation from the mores of normal business and allowed to

profit from fracture to traditional family life!

As you walk past the local corner store where "dad" behind the counter is

wearing a party hat and the kids pop out from the back door firing cap guns,

you decide whether there is no essential difference between small and big


As you walk into the supermarket on New Years Day and notice the many

queues, at checkouts operated by ill and sullen faces, you decide if you

deserve service any better!

As you walk, with your loved ones, through any large retail outlet on any

given Sunday, Think about it!

Lawrence McClure


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