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Issue No. 251 11 February 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Polar Shifts
And so Workers Online makes our belated return to 2005 - and while we may have the same old familiar faces in Federal Parliament, politically, itís a whole new ball game.

F E A T U R E S

Economics: Super Seduction
Sharks are circling your super. From July 1, banks and financial planners will have access to the nesteggs of an extra four million workers.

Interview: Bono and Me
ACTU Sharan Burrow lifts the lid on the rock star lifestyle of an international union leader.

Unions: The Eight Hour Day and the Holy Spirit
Rowan Cahill bucks conventional wisdom to argue the eight-hour day began in Sydney.

Economics: OEC-Who?
The OECD calls for more reform. But, Asks Neale Towart, who is really doing the calling?

Technology: From Widgets to Digits
How can unions grow and continue to successfully represent workers when their traditional structures are rooted in an industry, craft or fixed location?

Education: Dumb and Dumber
Unions are leading the fight against a political agenda that does away with smart jobs.

Health: No Place for the Young
The support of union members is required to help get young people out of nursing homes, writes Mark Robinson

History: The Work-In That Changed a Nation
February 17 marks 30-years to the day that sacked coal miners at the NSW Northern District Nymboida Colliery began their historic work-in at the mine.

Review: Dare to Win
The history of the militant and often controversial BLF is as surprising as it is fascinating writes Tim Brunero.

Poetry: Labor's Dreaming
With another change at the helm of the Labor Party, our resident bard, David Peetz, can't help but dreamily drawing on some political history.

N E W S

 Plastic Man Crosses the Line

 Taskforce Loses "Payback" Evidence

 Court Out Ö Again

 Blue Chips Fried in CBD

 Bosses Duck Decapitation

 Computer Driven Posties

 Stalking Horses in Safety Stampede

 Low Blow in Ferry Blue

 Howard "Unbalanced"

 Picketers Chase Millions

 Whistleblower Beats Bullies

 Mateship Shines Through

 Queensland Marks Power Grab

 Vale Laurie Aarons 1917-2005

C O L U M N S

Politics
Titanic Forces
There are book reviewers who have not read the book they have just reviewed and there are critics who have criticised films they have not yet seen. I want to review a novel that has not yet been written.

The Soapbox
Labour and Labor
Grant Bellchamber looks at the relationship between both sides organised labour

Postcard
Aussie Unions Help Tsunami Victims
The union movementís aid agency reports back on its relief effort in Asia.

The Locker Room
Game, Set and Yawn
Phil Doyle asks if tennis is evil or just boring

Parliament
The Westie Wing
As a reshuffle of the State Ministry settles in and the Federal Government throws down the gauntlet, 2005 promises to be a new and vital chapter in the struggle for workers and their families, writes Ian West in Macquarie Street.

L E T T E R S
 Nelson's Double Standard
 Morals Beat Hasty Retreat
 Uncounted Cost Of Asbestos
 Voting Farce Expands
 I Beg To Differ
 Politics Smolitics
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Blue Chips Fried in CBD


Banks and prestigious retailers are among central Sydney businesses profiting from exploited Korean labour.

At least two banks, and an outlet of a national retail chain, were being cleaned by virtually unpaid labour, it emerged, when the LHMU secured $15,000 in backpay for six Koreans, this month.

Union officials were unwilling to finger any of the businesses involved in the bust but Workers Online inquiries have turned up the names of some of Australia's most respected companies.

Nobody is sure how low "payments" are in the subcontract-riven sector because, according to one source, many immigrants aren't paid at all.

"That's the most common problem," our source told us. "These people are on holiday or student visas, they get paid for the first week, then don't get any more money at all.

"There are plenty of others willing to take their places."

Big cleaning contractors, including Jani King and Jae My, use sub-contracting or "franchising" arrangements, on lucrative jobs across Sydney's CBD.

The LHMU's, Jim Lloyd, said the recent backpay settlements barely scratched the problem's surface.

"Unscrupulous contract cleaners are using these tourists to depress the working conditions of local people while increasing their own profit margins," Lloyd said.

He said the situation would "worsen dramatically" if the federal government pushed ahead with sub-contracting and out-sourcing plans that would further de-regulate the industry.


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