||Issue No. 247||19 November 2004|
In Defence of Jeff
Interview: The Reich Stuff
Economics: Crime and Punishment
Environment: Beyond The Wedge
International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Politics: Labo(u)r Day
Human Rights: Arabian Lights
History: Labour's Titan
Review: Foxy Fiasco
Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
The Locker Room
Shawly we’ve heard enough
Decline of The American Empire
Union Baiter on Charges
Patrick Corporation boss, Chris Corrigan, is one of 20 New Right activists urging the federal government to use its control of both houses to eliminate collective workplace organisation.
This week his company was fingered by ACCC chief, Graeme Samuel, for operating a "cosy duopoly" with P&O that delivered higher returns than those enjoyed by other Australian businesses.
"According to the stevedores' own figures they are enjoying returns on
assets of around 27.8 per cent EBIT. These are well above international
rates of return for comparable industries of seven to 17 per cent. These
rates of return are a direct result of low levels of investment in expanded
capacity," Samuels said.
"A figure such as 27.8 per cent is something about which most Australian
companies can only dream."
Meanwhile, the NSW IRC has reserved its decision on penalties against the company after it was found guilty on five separate OH&S charges.
Observers suggest evidence of the offending was so strong that the Commission could post million dollar sanctions over the use of single-operator straddle cranes.
A number of operators sustained long-term impairments after prolonged use of the equipment at the centre of the Federal Government's 1998 War on the Wharves.
In that dispute, the Howard Government sided with Corrigan and National Farmers Federation attempts to drive unionised labour off the Australian waterfront.
Mercenaries from the armed forces were secretly trained in Dubai to take over the jobs of MUA members.
Attempts to prove a conspiracy between Patrick and the Howard Government, in court, have been repeatedly thwarted by Government's refusal to produce sought documents.
On the very day that Corrigan and his 19 associates delivered their demands to the Prime Minister, his company backed off moves to strip conditions from low paid vehicle workers at its Autocare division.
Patrick dropped its insistence on being ring-fenced from award variations after 30 Ingleburn employees marched on a board meeting in Sydney.
Corrigan and his associates are urging the government to go beyond the seven IR bills defeated by the last Senate, including legitimising unfair sackings.
They want an inquiry to consider proposals to make it easier for collective contracts to be replaced by individual contracts; unions to be stripped of remaining legal rights; welfare payments eliminated as a "deterrent to job seeking"; the possibility of repudiating international labour standards signed by Australia.
Corrigan has been joined in promoting the wish-list by high profile anti-worker activists, many with connections to the extreme right wing HR Nicholls Society.
Other signatories include, WA building products magnate, Len Buckeridge, who was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond after assaulting a union member.
Buckeridge was last year's winner of the Charles Copeman medal, presented by the HR Nicholls Society. During his acceptance speech he admitted having drawn up a hit list of union activists.
Charles Copeman, himself, architect of the notorious Robe River lockout, was another signatory to last week's plea.
As were Perth businessman, Harold Clough, who outed himself as the "mystery backer" of Tony Abbott's campaign to have Pauline Hanson gaoled; and Steve Knott, head of the Australian Mines and Metals Association.
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