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Issue No. 245 05 November 2004  

What�s In a Name?
McDonalds is doing it, IAG has done it, James Hardie desperately needs to do it � and now the Labor Council of NSW is doing it, re-working its brand to meet the changing demands of their markets.


Interview: The Reich Stuff
Robert Reich has led the debate on the future of work � both as an academic and politician. Now he�s on his way to Australia to help NSW unions push the envelope.

Economics: Crime and Punishment
Mark Findlay argues that the present psychological approach to prison programs is increasing the likelihood of re-offending and the threat to community safety.

Environment: Beyond The Wedge
Whether the great forestry divide can ever be overcome or whether it is best sidestepped for the sake of unity and sustainability in other areas is up for debate, writes Tara de Boehmler.

International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Linda Weiss, Elizabeth Thurbon and John Mathews show us How To Kill A Country

Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Nick Lewocki from the RTBU lifts the lid on the shonky science behind RailCorp testing

Politics: Labo(u)r Day
John Robertson lets fly at this years Labor Day dinner

Human Rights: Arabian Lights
Tim Brunero reports on how a Sydney sparky took on the Taliban and lived to tell the tale.

History: Labour's Titan
Percy Brookfield was a big man who was at the heart of the trade union struggles that made Broken Hill a quintessential union town writes Neale Towart.

Review: Foxy Fiasco
To find out who is outfoxing who, read Tara de Boehmler's biased review of a subjective documentary about corrupt journalism.

Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
Brothers and sisters! Praise the Lord! Brother George has saved the White House from an invasion by infidels, writes resident bard David Peetz.


 Unions Dump Labor

 Shearers Brush Woolly Mammoths

 Girls Should Be Short Changed

 Sydney Turns Down Volume

 Minister Rides Collie

 Staff, Trees Weather the Blame

 Offshore Embassy for Families

 Visy Paper Folds

 Workers Unplug Power Cuts

 Silverwater Offers Porridge

 Environment Wiped Out In Dubbo

 Justice Eludes Kariong Staff

 Nelson Flags Another Raid

 Five Steps to Sanity

 Activists What's On!


The Locker Room
In Naming Rights Only
Phil Doyle has Gone to Gowings

The Soapbox
Homeland Insecurity
Rowan Cahill tells us how the Howard Government�s appointment of Major-General Duncan Lewis to head up the national security division of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has received little critical comment, until now.

The Westie Wing
New proposed legislation in NSW provides a vital window of opportunity for unions to ensure they achieve convictions for workplace deaths, writes Ian West.

 Too Young
 Let's Start A New Party
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Offshore Embassy for Families

Victorian oil rig workers have opened an embassy to protect wives and families from attacks by contractors for a Texas-based multinational.

In a move that is being strongly resisted by Gippsland based workers and their families, Esso, part of the Exxon-Mobil group, is attempting to shift workers onto a 14-day roster.

"Workers are already missing their kids birthdays and grand finals," says John Parker from the Offshore Workers Embassy. "With this move kids will start to miss their dad and rely on not having a dad around.

"It puts a huge strain on the family and fathers get isolated."

Parker says the Longford embassy is a place for oilrig workers and their families to bring their grievances, to get represented and to get information.

Contractors for Esso, including Lothways TBS Pty Ltd, are being pressured to fall in with the Esso plan to shift from the current seven day on-seven day off arrangements to 14 days on-14 days off.

A move by Esso contractors Kellogg, Brown and Root and Corke Instrument Engineering to introduce a non-union collective agreement including the roster changes was rejected when 96% of workers voted down the change in a secret ballot.

"This is yet another signal that these changes are unacceptable to working men, many of whom are fathers, who should not be forced to be away from the families for a fortnight each month," says Australian Workers Union (AWU) national secretary Bill Shorten.

An AWU survey earlier this year found 90% of workers wives opposed the 14-day rosters.

Workers represented by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and Construction Forestry Mining and energy Union (CFMEU) have entered talks with a conciliator in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

"The longer we're sitting around the campfire the more we're hearing about what workers employed by these contractors have to put up with," says John Parker from the CFMEU. "They are forced to share protective equipment, they are out in wet weather hanging over the ocean dealing with storms and sleeping four to a 14 x 14 foot room.

"Sharing these rooms with three other blokes for 14 days would not be pleasant."

Parker says one worker described oilrig conditions as "like a prison ship".

The Embassy is also investigating allegations of workers being exposed to asbestos on ESSO Oil Platforms.

A Family Picnic Day is scheduled for the Embassy on Sunday, November 7..

The embassy has erected a Christmas tree and is vowing to stay until problems are resolved.


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