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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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Kentucky Fried Kids

A fast food company that pleaded guilty to frying a 17-year-old in a vat of oil has had an OHS conviction quashed on appeal.

Daniel Guyomar was standing on a fryer to clean an extraction hood at a KFC outlet at Cranbourne when he fell into a deep fryer. He was hospitalised for 19 days following the incident.

Southern Restaurants, operators of the outlet, were fined $25,000 by the Magistrate's Court. A Victorian judge overturned the conviction and the fine after hearing evidence the employee had received written procedures.

"The message that this sends is if you can afford to appeal then you can look forward to getting off," says Renata Musolino, a safety information officer for the Victorian Trades Hall Council. "Would KFC executives let their own children be treated like this?"

"Relying on written procedures when dealing with any employee is inappropriate," says Musolino. "Particularly young people who need to be supervised.

"The industrial conditions in the fast food industry mean that workers are often forced to take unsafe practices due to pressure."

Workers Online understands that this was not Guyomar's normal workplace and that he was unfamiliar with the store. The job was usually done by another employee before the store opened so the fryer would not be on.

"The instructions he was given were laughable," says Musolino. "One was basically, use a step ladder and don't fall off!"

After the appeal the Cranbourne KFC restaurant franchisee was placed on

a two-year good behaviour bond, without conviction, and ordered to donate $10,000 to charity.

WorkSafe Victoria's executive director, John Merritt, said with Christmas approaching and many young workers entering the workforce for the first time, employers had to look to training and supervision.

"Employers and workers need to realise that a serious injury received at

15, 16 or 17 might be with them for the next 60 years," Merritt said.

"Employers need to anticipate what could go wrong, and have the procedures to ensure it does not. Written procedures are only part of the story. They need to be followed. That's where supervision comes in."

"Young workers need to be careful, and ask their boss for help if they're not sure if they're working in a safe way."


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