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Issue No. 246 12 November 2004  

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.


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.


 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!


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.

 What about the real crooks?
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Boss Rejects AWA

Mining giant Newcrest is refusing to honour its own AWA because an employee sought union representation.

The AWA's "Fair Treatment Procedure", states the worker can be "represented by another person at any time during the process", but when miner, Brett Tamatea, chose the CFMEU the company choked.

Unions claim Tamatea, who works at the Cadia Hill Gold Mine near Orange, has been singled out for a written warning because of his active membership of the CFMEU Mining Division.

Now, in a groundbreaking move, the CFMEU is asking the state IRC to conciliate a dispute concerning a worker covered by a federal AWA.

Newcrest has moved to have the proceedings dumped, claiming the NSW Commission does not have jurisdiction.

AWAs are supposed to be monitored by the Office of the Employment Advocate but the credibility of that organisation has been questioned by workers and unions.

The office was repeatedly referred to as the "Office of the Employers Advocate" by employer witnesses appearing before the Cole Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry.

"This just shows how useless the Office of the Employment Advocate really are and that they don't protect workers," says a spokesperson for the CFMEU Mining Division.

"This is a company that is totally anti-union," says Russ Collison, NSW secretary of the Australian Workers Union, who also have members at the Cadia Hill mine. "This issue is about state jurisdiction and what the commission can do."

Unions claim that if the move in the state jurisdiction is successful it will be of benefit to all workers.

Nat Plays With Miners Lives

Meanwhile the Miners Union accused the NSW Shadow Minister for Mineral Resources, Adrian Piccoli, of "playing with miners lives" after he called for a rejection of new legislation that would make mine management more accountable for health and safety.

CFMEU Mining and Energy General President Tony Maher said that the Shadow Minister, a member of the National Party, would have "blood on his hands" if he succeeded in blocking the new OH&S Legislation (Workplace Fatalities) Bill 2004.

"This Bill provides for negligent mine management who are responsible for death and serious injuries to be held to account," says Maher. "Piccoli claims that this will result in a crisis for the NSW mining industry as no one will want to work as a mine manager if they are accountable for negligent actions.

"This is absolute rubbish. Calling negligent managers to account can only make for a safer mining industry and as a consequence a more productive industry.

"In the history of the NSW mining industry more than 3,000 workers have lost their lives and we had to wait until this year before individuals were convicted for the first time for negligence. This case involved the deaths of four coal miners killed in the Gretley mine eight years ago this month.

"Adrian Piccoli would do better to be concerned about the lives and welfare of the thousands of miners who work the State's mines and not the handful of irresponsible managers who for years have been literally getting away with murder."


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