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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 MUAs 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 Its 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.

 Historical Reversion?
 Whose prosperity?
 Shop Till the Worker Drops
 Unreported Views
 Bobs Silver Anniversary
 Hit And Myth
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Fine Drop in Ocean of Blood

A $55,000 fine imposed on a transport operator whose driver was incinerated on the Pacific Highway has sparked calls for Workcover to go after the "Mr Bigs" of road transport.

The TWUs Scott Connelly said 524 people had died in NSW truck accidents since 37-year-old, Darri Haines, was killed in a 1999 fireball, after bodgeying logbooks and consuming methamphetamines in a bid to meet schedules.

"This is a step in the right direction," Connelly said. "But Workcover needs to go after the clients if it is serious about road safety.

"It's the Woolworths, Coles and BHPs - the clients - who set the schedules and drive the pricing structures.

"Under the current OH&S regime their behaviour can be addressed but, despite 524 deaths in five years, it has never been done.

"The clients are the root of the problem and their behaviour has to be addressed if we are going to make our roads safer for everybody."

Connelly said IRC vice president Michael Walton's decision was a "landmark ruling" because it established that highways were workplaces for OH&S purposes.

It also gives Workcover access to rosters, log books and records, allowing them to write prohibition notices before accidents occur.

The decision appears to determine that, under NSW OH&S legislation, risk of fatigue is enough to warrant Workcover action.

Walton found long-haul driver Haynes had been making deliveries, up and down the NSW coast, fuelled by methamphetamies, because he was afraid he would lose his job if he didn't meet schedules set by his employer, Jim Hitchcock.

He found Hitchcock guilty of failing to provide safe conditions for his employee, after hearing Haynes had clocked up 5400km in the week before his death.

Hitchcock's company, Sayogi Pty Ltd, "paid very little, if any, heed to the risk, either to its employed drivers or to anyone else at risk of an accident," Walton said.

He found "fatigue" was a primary cause of the accident and said Hitchcock's company had "provided incentives" for drivers to increase their hours behind the wheel.

"The company pressured its drivers to meet delivery deadlines resulting in breaches of the logbook," Walton said.

"Drivers risked their jobs or incomes if they failed to comply."

Connelly said such fines could drive small operators out of the industry but, in all likelihood, their contracts would be picked up by other operators on similarly unrealistic terms and conditions.

According to TWU figures, 77 people have died in NSW truck accidents so far this year.


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