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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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Big Australian Changes the Rules

BHP is celebrating the largest profit in Australian history by exposing Bunbury alumina plant workers to five-figure fines for defying Howard Government anti-strike laws.

Targeted tradesmen chose an afternoon of family fun with wives and kids at a nearby park over an order to return to work at Worsley Alumina, yesterday.

The family day went ahead, complete with bouncy castles, fairy floss and face painting in nearby Capel Shire, after the Liberal-dominated Bunbury Council denied use of their regular meeting place, Hans Oval.

AMWU organiser, Tony Lovett, said maintenance tradesmen had voted "overwhelmingly" to ignore court orders, won by Worsley contractors, that sought to split them off from counterparts on the construction project.

"There is a longstanding history, over here, of people getting the same pay for doing the same work on the same job," Lovett said. "It's called a fair go and that's what these guys believe in."

Worsley is undergoing major expansion work but the company won't cut maintenance tradesmen into the rates being negotiated for the construction side of the operation.

Lovett says that flies in the face of precedents across the West. It is an arrangement, he says, in force at a Pinjarra expansion, 80km away, and has been applied by Worsley, itself, in the past.

The difference, he says, is BHP. Since the world's largest minerals company took over at Worsley the ground rules have changed.

"BHP is the client and it won't agree to equal pay for equal work. That's all we are asking for. The way they want to run the place, you could have a maintenance welder working 20 feet away from a construction welder but earning $200 a week less.

"That's unacceptable to all our people," Lovett said.

The Worsley strike had been going for 14 days when contractors won return to work orders, in Perth. They apply only to maintenance tradesmen - about half of the 400 strikers.

BHP Billiton, which has driven a six-year, union-busting campaign in the Pilbara, recorded a $3.58 billion profit for the six months to December 31.

Its aggressive use of federal AWAs was criticised in a recent WA Government report into a series of deaths at its Pilbara mining operations.


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