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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

"Leave or Leave," Telstra


Telstra is breaching contracts with thousands of employees by threatening redundancies if they don’t use up annual leave entitlements over the Christmas-New Year period.

The ultimatum was delivered by group manager, Steven Lambert, who told managers workers were to be "directed" to take annual leave between December 20 and January 7 and, if this couldn't be achieved, "I may have to look at redundancies."

Yet five enterprise bargaining agreements, covering around 15,000 Telstra workers state entitlements "may be taken by you at your initiative ... subject to the agreement of your manager".

CPSU spokesman, Paul Ingwersen, says union telephone lines have run hot since Australia's largest company issued its holiday edict.

"We have agreements in place that recognise people choose to take leave for a variety of reasons, including their family situations," Ingwersen said.

"It's unreasonable for a billion dollar company to threaten people that if they don't use their entitlements to suit its purposes there will be redundancies."

Telstra, majority owned by the federal government, has been a leader in shedding staff and cutting costs. It axed thousands of Australian jobs on its way to a record $4.1 billion profit, last year.

Ingwersen said his union had written to the telco seeking that the threat implicit in Lambert's letter be withdrawn.

He said he was "reasonably confident" Telstra would address the issue without the need for further action.

"We are seeking that the company educate its managers on the contents of its agreements and the importance of honouring agreements," he said.


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