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Issue No. 251 11 February 2005  

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, it�s a whole new ball game.


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.


 Plastic Man Crosses the Line

 Taskforce Loses "Payback" Evidence

 Court Out � 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


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

Aussie Unions Help Tsunami Victims
The union movement�s 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

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.

 Nelson's Double Standard
 Morals Beat Hasty Retreat
 Uncounted Cost Of Asbestos
 Voting Farce Expands
 I Beg To Differ
 Politics Smolitics
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Low Blow in Ferry Blue

Hardline ferry builder, Incat, has ratcheted up its dispute with more than 100 Hobart employees by sacking their delegate in the middle of wage negotiations.

Incat is hiding behind the Federal Government's Workplace Relations Act to ignore its staff's demand for a union agreement.

The company, which trousered $30 million in taxpayer handouts before recording a $17 million profit last year, employs people on around $80 a week below standard Tasmanian rates.

Union members and non-union supporters have walked out four times since enterprise bargaining talks began, last year.

The action, co-ordinated by the AMWU and CFMEU, has resulted in the company agreeing to key demands, including a three percent wage rise from certification, an additional three percent from November, tool allowances and a 38-hour working week.

But it continues to resist unions being a party to its document.

Last Friday, it bulleted one of two elected AMWU delegates, citing an ongoing injury.

"I think you will find the real reason was plain, old-fashioned discrimination," AMWU acting state president, Darren Hanisch, said.

"This man is an outspoken and active union delegate who participates in shopfloor meetings. Suddenly, in the middle of a dispute, they choose to sack him.

"We will be taking legal action to defend his rights, and the rights of the people he represented."

Hanisch said the sacking fitted into a pattern of discrimination at Incat. On Monday, it announced that anyone who had participated in industrial action would not be considered for overtime.

Incat, he said, was carrying the ball for the federal government's union-busting agenda.

"The workers at Incat, union and non-union, want the protection of unions being parties to their agreement," he said "but the Workplace Relations Act allows the company to ignore their vote.

"The only recourse they have is to industrial action. It's a bad law because it promotes confrontation and workplace disputes."


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