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Issue No. 252 18 February 2005  

Wood for the Trees
In the book that may never become a film, ‘Eucalyptus’, a father will not give his daughter away unless her suitor can name every tree on the property.


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.


 Families On the Rack

 Detention Centre for Darling Harbour

 Transit Officers' Close Shave

 Truckies Drive Mac Attack

 We Have Way of Making You Walk

 Howzat – Murali Spun Out

 Show Me The Money

 Walter’s Mates Pay

 Retailer Sells Out Workers

 Financiers Squash Capital Idea

 Taskforce Stands Over Families

 Big Australian Changes the Rules

 Bodyguards Stabbed In Back

 Big Brother Stirs Up Porridge

 Carr Sees Trees for Wood

 Activist’s What’s On


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.

 Toxic Talk
 Millstone Revealed
 But Then Again
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Truckies Drive Mac Attack

Fast food giant, McDonalds, is at the centre of a health scare that claimed 103 NSW lives, last year.

Sixty truckies ceased deliveries to the burger baron, this week, after their employer refused to discuss measures aimed at stopping carnage on the state’s roads.

Employees at F.J Walker's Blacktown and Newcastle yards walked out in frustration at the lack of talks on a new EBA in which they want the company to address the soaring death rate, involving heavy vehicles.

Chain of responsibility clauses are key elements in claims F.J. Walker has refused to discuss since last September. Others include fatigue management proposals, driving hours limits and training programs.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) argues motorists and truck drivers will keep dying until the corporate sector assumes its share of responsibility for an industry plagued by fatigue and chronic overwork.

Spokesperson, Angela Humphries, said the traditional enforcement approach of targeting truckies had proven ineffective.

"It is not the best way to save lives," Humphries said. "Regulations have to be aimed at the companies who set impossible driving times.

"Sydney to Melbourne is a 12-hour run, minimum, if you obey the road rules but we have drivers forced to do it in eight hours. You can do the maths yourself.

"The problem is that drivers face severe financial penalties if they don't meet those targets."

Humphries pointed to last year's successful prosecution of a contractor whose driver died in a fireball, out of Newcastle. The court heard he hadn't slept for four days, prior to the accident, and had complained to his employer about fatigue.

One hundred and three people died in heavy transport-related road accidents in NSW, last year.

The union says contractors, clients and others in the chain of command must take responsibility for a safe working environment.

It has filed a draft award that focuses heavily on health and safety, particularly documentation need to enforce chain of command responsibilities.

F.J Walker carts everything to McDonalds restaurants in NSW, from chips and buns to cardboard containers.

"Our members walked out because of five months of frustration," Humphries said. "And their biggest problem is the company's refusal to talk about the chain of responsibility."


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