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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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Financiers Squash Capital Idea

Billion-dollar multinational, GE Capital, has washed its hands of 110 Braeside workers owed around $2 million in redundancy.

The subsidiary of US giant, General Electric, that recorded a $64 billion profit last year, has rejected an AMWU request to stand aside and allow displaced employees to collect before putting the bite on administrators for its $10 million.

GE Capital is developing a reputation around Melbourne for dealing to business in a single-minded debt collection campaign.

It is believed to have been a key player in the recent failures of manufacturers, National Forge and Ion.

AMWU state secretary, Dave Oliver, was disappointed by GE's hardline response.

"GE turned over $153 billion, last year, and administrators have told us that once they take their $10 million out of ABM Plastics, the company won't be able to meet redundancy entitlements," Oliver said.

"We asked them to take a back seat so loyal workers with up to 25 years service could get their money. That should have left GE with at least eight of the $10 million it is claiming.

"Basically, they told us to go to hell."

But GE is not the only corporate feeding off displaced employees.

Their Porsche driving-boss, Abe Waisman, is setting up a brand new operation within sight of frustrated picketers.

Administrators knocked down the company's plant and machinery to Australian-based multinational, Amcor, for $6 million, then told them, if they hung around and finished outstanding orders everyone could be paid - except them.

"Nobody thought that was a great idea so we set up a picket and nothing has been coming or going," Oliver explained.

Union members estimate Amcor got the plant and equipment at bargain-basement rates. It, too, has refused to meet the redundancy shortfall.

In a pincer movement designed to force workers to walk away from their money, a NSW-based food processor, Greens, is seeking IRC orders against them, and administrators are chasing a federal court injunction.

About 60 employees, and their supporters, took the battle to Waisman's mansion in saburious Brighton, last weekend.

They held a barbecue and leafleted Downes St to let the good burghers know their ponytailed neighbour had form.

Besides opening the new company, Waisman still drives a Porsche and his estranged wife gets about in a Mercedes Benz. He has holiday homes at beach resort, Lorne, and in the southern snowfields.


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