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Issue No. 253 25 February 2005  

And The Battle Begins
After months of skirmishing and waiting for the first shots to be fired, we finally have a picture of the Howard Government’s agenda to tear down 100 years of industrial relations.


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.


 Signs of the Times

 Fungal Growth Blights AWA’s

 Andrews Apes Big End

 Telstra Charge Reversed

 Good GEERS Hard to Find

 More Pulp Fiction

 For Sale - Goulburn

 Bosses Admit Pay Too Low

 Yachtie Sinks in Bog

 Albrechtsen Merits Questions

 New Eateries On Menu

 Fungal Growth Blights AWA’s

 Markets Cheer Pattern Bargains

 Mine Managers in Denial

 No Interest In Costello

 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.

 Boycott Bunnings
 Just One Thing
 No Dosh For Rupert
 Executions Not Fines
 Howard Needs To Know
 Disability Disgrace
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Good GEERS Hard to Find

The family of a building industry boss has come face to face with the reality of John Howard’s GEERS scheme.

"It doesn’t work," former Walter Construction corporate services manager, Mike Walsh, says.

"Nobody gets anything for 16 weeks and they still have to put food on the table and pay the mortgage. People are terrified until the first payments come through."

Walsh and 450 former white collar colleagues at Walter Construction are owed over $18 million dollars in entitlements.

The General Employees Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS) only pays award rates, offers no protection to subcontractors, doesn't cover super and caps redundancy at eight weeks.

The scheme also gives the government complete discretion on any payouts.

The majority of Walter's blue collar workforce will be paid tens of millions worth of entitlements in full and have new jobs after two weeks of pickets and negotiations.

CFMEU members are protected from losing their long service, redundancy and superannuation as money is placed in industry trusts.

"White collar workers are envious of our blue collar colleagues after the way the CFMEU has looked after them," Walsh said.

Walsh was speaking at this week's Unions NSW meeting as delegates voted to back his non-union colleagues

The CFMEU has managed to secure the entitlements of some white collar workers.

The union is sponsoring the 'Walter Staff Employees Group', composed of former Walter staff, and wants the scheme to guarantee 100 percent of worker entitlements.

A bus load of white collar workers will travel to Canberra on March 9 to deliver a petition with more than 5000 signatures calling for GEERS reform.

Next week a mobile billboard calling for the GEERS scheme to be beefed up will be launched at Kirribilli. The $20,000 cost of the billboard is being paid for with donations from blue collar and white collar workers.


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