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Issue No. 250 21 December 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Beyond The Law
Despite the all-engulfing gloom emenating from our political wing right now, 2004 comes to an end on a strangely upbeat note for the trade union movement.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: The King of Comedy
John Robertson looks back on a year when his comic genius was finally realised.

Unions: Ten Simple Rules
Accepted wisdom has unions all but retired as serious players in the Australian game. A glance through the major industrial stories of 2004, however, suggests improved footwork, and a commitment to boxing clever, might herald a comeback, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: Rampant Indivdualism
CFMEU National Secretary John Sutton gives his take on a year when the political debate took a turn to the Right.

International: Global Struggle
Labourstart's Eric Lee looks back on a year when the struggles for labour increasingly crossed international lines.

Economics: Cashing in the Year
Look back in sorrow or look back in anger? By any standards 2004 has been a hell of a year, writes Frank Stilwell.

History: Grass Roots
Worker solidarity in Australia in the first century of invasion can give us inspiration and clues for our upcoming battles, writes Neale Towart.

Review: Cultural Realities
In 2004 popular culture shifted from reality television to reality movies, and swapped last year's light-weight subject matter for the slightly more substantial, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Y-U-C-K
Workers Online resident bard David Peetz takes inspiration from The Village People for his latest prose.

N E W S

 Unions Make Hardie Pay

 Hadgkiss Gives Mourners Grief

 Mum Gets "Hopson’s" Choice

 AWAs Crash on Broken Hill

 No Fun in the Sack

 Tax Office Draws Blood

 Origin Prop a Union Hit

 Good Guy Wears Black

 Security Crisis at Sydney Airport

 Biscuit Bosses Crumble

 Ardmona Urged to Can Racism

 Bomber Predicts Big Bang

 Stolen Wages Cut

 Tomorrow the World…

 Bosses Sack WorkCover

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

Predictions
The Crystal Ball
Workers Online consults a raft of leading psychics to find out what readers can look forward to in 2005.

The Soapbox
Scrooge Was Right
Christmas has been cancelled this year, writes our US correspondent Brooklyn Phil.

The Locker Room
The Workers Online Sports Awards
Continuing a tradition that dates back to the Twentieth Century, Phil Doyle dishes out the gongs for all things great and small in the world of sport during 2004.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favoutrite MP looks for a positive spin on the year at NSW Parliament

L E T T E R S
 Costa’s Hike Unfare
 Temporary Arrangements
 The Price Of Tea In China
 Goodthink
 Cry For Me, Argentina
 Ho Bloody Ho
 Amen
 Right Is Wrong
 Business As Usual
 All In The Family
 Swing Left Wishful Thinking
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Ardmona Urged to Can Racism


A HR manager pledged to "get black bastards" at a Victorian cannery, according to papers filed in the federal court, this week.

The AMWU is alleging supervisors and managers at SPC Ardmona's Shepparton and Mooroopna operations discriminated against union members on the basis of race, gender and family status.

It claims a supervisor referred to one of its organisers as a "black bastard" and went on to state that "black bastards" at the cannery thought they were protected but he would get them, one at a time.

It says the same HR guru turned down an application for a permanent job from a woman who had already worked at the cannery because she was a "single mother".

During the job interview, the mother of 10 and 11 year old children was told by another SPC Ardmona representative, "her children needed her more than the factory".

Another supervisor, AMWU papers claim, told a woman of Fijian ethnicity, that he was German and had "destroyed her kind" during the war.

Union members rallied outside the company's corporate headquarters in Melbourne, earlier this month, to protest against ongoing discrimination at the canneries.

AMWU spokesperson, Bronwyn Halfpenny, said legal action had been instituted after repeated failures by SPC Ardmona to deal with the issues.

She said Aboriginal and Pacific Island employees had been subjected to four years of bullying and racism and it had to stop.

Lawyers for the parties agreed, on December 17, to mediation on a string of award and Workplace Relations Act breaches, alleged by the union.


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