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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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Asbestos Audit Refused

An incident where 20 maintenance workers were sprayed with asbestos fibres prompted 150 workmates to walk off the job at two major power stations in the Hunter Valley last week.

The workers were cutting a fire door at the Liddell power station when the deadly fibres were released and blown around the workspace by a fan.

The door was marked asbestos free prompting worker fears Asbestos registers at the facility were out of date.

The Liddell and Bayswater power stations have been temporarily shut down for crucial long-term maintenance.

The owners, Macquarie Generation, has refused AMWU calls to do through asbestos audits of the plants.

The company has also moved to stop contractors paying workers who refused to enter workspaces until safety inspectors had completed a sweep of affected areas.

State president, Tim Ayres, says there have been other examples at the stations of asbestos not shown on the Asbestos Register and believes the company is displaying a cavalier approach to the health and safety of workers.

"Macquarie Generation has...caused a number of our members to be exposed to the most frightening and devastating diseases associated with asbestos poisoning," says Ayres.

"Given the current heightened public awareness of asbestos related issues it is unimaginable that the potential risks of exposure to asbestos were not considered by management at Macquarie Generation.

"They are trying to send a message to workers they shouldn't stick their hand up when there is a safety problem."

Hardie At The Gates

Meanwhile Unions, asbestos victims and community members will launch an ongoing protest at the James Hardie Manufacturing Plant in Rosehill to increase pressure on the company.

Hardie's called police in an unsuccessful attempt to remove the communityprotest, which included demountable sheds and portable toilets.

"James Hardie had the audacity to say that the shed had been placed in anarea that created an unsafe practice," says Andrew Ferguson of theConstruction Forestry Mining and Energy Union.

The action will continue on weekdays from 8am to 4pm at Colquhoun Road,Rosehill until a resolution has been reached with James Hardie.


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