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Issue No. 246 12 November 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

How It Comes To This
There are times when a worker has no real option than to take a stand, no matter the cost. This is the situation confronting NSW’s 15,000 rail workers right now.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 Workers Seize Cat

 Castle Hill Uprising

 Carr Flips on Rail

 Producers Call "Cut"

 Fly Me To … Anywhere

 Saint Buzz: Hymn the Man

 Patricks Attacks Westies

 Cold Comfort for Scientists

 Mothball Bowls Port Hedland

 Boss Rejects AWA

 Asbestos Audit Refused

 Bear Mauls Children

 "Leave or Leave," Telstra

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

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.

Parliament
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.

L E T T E R S
 What about the real crooks?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Cold Comfort for Scientists


Scientists and technicians representing Australia in Antarctica are being cold-shouldered by the Howard Government.

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations has iced a negotiated pay rise that would have given them average increases of four percent a year.

The department, acting of government policy, rejected the agreed settlement between workers, based in Tasmania and Antarctica, and the Australian Antarctic Division.

CPSU spokesman, Simon Cocker, said third-party intervention in their bargaining had left staff "angered and bewildered".

They have responded with a blizzard of emails to Antarctic Division bosses, demanding that they reject the interference and honour their agreement.

DEWR's action followed similar interferences with CPSU-negotiated agreements for workers employed by the Australian Electoral Commission and Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, earlier in the year.

Both those groups of workers eventually rolled the federal government's pay rise watchdog.

Crocker said the basis of DEWR's rejection of the Antarctic Division agreement was "technical" and "ridiculous".

It's bleat centres on the date on which the increase is measured from. It argues, with a December kick-off, workers will effectively receive 5.3 percent for one year, while the CPSU contends the figure must measured from the October expiry date of the old agreement.

That methodology would give two four percent increases, around the public service average.

DEWR's argument appears to fly in face of its own figures. In publishing annual average wage movement, its calculations are based on what it calls a Nominal Expiry Date. Effectively, it measures movements from the date of the previous agreement's expiry.

"DEWR uses this measure for its published calculations," Cocker said. "What our people are asking is why doesn't four percent equal four percent when it comes to the Antarctic Division."


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