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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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Walter’s Mates Pay

Picketing building workers at three former Walter sites have saved their jobs and recovered more than $5 million, inspiring confidence that other companies will roll over.

All 46 Walter employees on the Parramatta rail project have negotiated new jobs with Lend Lease that protect their entitlements, and have resumed work. Most gained significant wage rises by moving onto the terms of the Lend Lease project agreement.

Dozens of subcontractors have also been paid.

Worker's demands have also been met at projects at the MegaCentre in Auburn and in Chifley Tower.

And 50 others at a luxury apartment project in Zetland are poised to celebrate after an 'in principle agreement' with owner Bank of Scotland.

But former Walter employees picketing other former clients warn if their entitlements aren't covered by the end of February a Sydney-wide strike on all building strikes is on the cards.

CFMEU delegates voted up the strike plan at a meeting yesterday.

Walter's largest employer was the NSW Government, with seven projects on which thousands of workers are owed tens of millions of dollars in pay and entitlements.

Union secretary Andrew Ferguson says the state government should have conducted a proper investigation of Walter's financial viability and exposed the true financial position.

"The failure of Walter is as much about Government responsibility as corporate collapse," says Ferguson.

"Workers and subcontractors were lured to these projects because they thought ... there was no chance of a government builder going bust."

The government sites still holding out on workers are Wyong and Gosford Hospitals and three Sydney Water sewerage treatment plant projects.

Long Term Plan

The CFMEU is calling on the Federal Government to create a scheme that guarantees 100% of employee entitlements when a company goes bust.

The current GEERS scheme does not bind the government to pay any entitlements and when it does only at basic award rates.

The scheme is capped at eight weeks redundancy, is often very delayed and does not cover unpaid superannuation.

The employees of subcontractors to failed companies also have no rights under the scheme.


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