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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 MUA’s 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 It’s 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
 Bob’s Silver Anniversary
 Hit And Myth
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Officers Change Customs

Senior customs managers donned uniforms and talked to travellers in a bid to derail frontline workers’ campaign to bolster security.

Customs officers, on the frontline of the war on terror, were on a 24 hour strike aimed at improving wages and conditions in an effort to combat under-staffing.

Airport and port services were skeleton staffed across the country after 75 percent of the 4800-strong workforce struck in frustration at lack of progress during six months of negotiations.

The custom's officers' union, the CPSU, said the service was understaffed and a recent survey had found 30 percent of workers were so unhappy they intended to leave.

The survey also said over three quarters of employees found it hard to support their families on current salaries.

Management responded to the strike by flying 40 senior managers from Canberra to Sydney to carry out frontline duties.

The CPSU's Evan Hall said officers were happy to have senior managers do the job of processing passports and checking luggage.

"Now at least Custom's management will have first hand experience of the challenges we face," Hall said " You never know this might make them a little more sympathetic to our call for a fair deal.

"Since 9/11, the work of Customs officers has never been more important, or more challenging.

"We need a pay rise that will allow the agency to easily attract and retain highly skilled officers".

Hall apologised to the travelling public but believed there was no other way to let management know the depth of discontent in the service.

This is the most drastic action by the border protection force after six months of meetings, negotiations, petitions, rally and protests.

The latest offer by the service, was a pay increase of five per cent for the first year, four per cent for the year commencing January 1, 2006, and another four per cent for the year from January 1, 2007.

The previous offer was four per cent a year for two years.


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