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Issue No. 254 04 March 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Thatís Our Team
Hereís a test. Hands up all those who watched the news last night. Who can remember the weather forecast for tomorrow? What about the forecast in Perth?

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Dot.Com
Evan Thornley was a labour activist. Then he rode the tech wave. Now he's home with new ideas on how Labor can win the economic debate.

Workplace: Dirt Cheap
In her new book, Elizabeth Wynhausen learns how hard it is to live on the minimum wage.

Industrial: Daddy Doesnít Live With Us Anymore
Andreia Viegasí tells the story of the loss her young family has felt since her husband was killed at work, and the need for justice for families who fall victim to industrial manslaughter.

Economics: Who's Afraid of the BCA?
Big Business's agenda for Australia has gone from loopy to mainstream at the speed of light, writes Neale Towart

International: From the Wreckage
Working people across Iraq are struggling to build their own independent unions Ė and are successfully organising industrial action on the vital oil fields as well as in hotels, transport outlets and factories, Writes Andrew Casey

Politics: Infrastructure Blues
With much attention given belatedly to the shortage of infrastructure, little attention has been given to the structure of infrastructure, writes Evan Jones

History: Meat and Three Veg
A new book recounts the impact of the Depression on women workers, writes Neale Towart,

Savings: 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, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: Popping the 'E-Word'
Federal shadow treasurer Wayne Swan unveils Labor's new economic doctrine.

Poetry: To Know Somebody
This week saw an appointment to the ABC Board that was even more breathtaking than that of Liberal Party figure Michael Kroger. Resident Bard David Peetz celebrates the occasion with a reworking of an old Bee Gees hit.

Review: Off the Rails
A new play on the impact of rail privatisation in Britain has a poignant message for Sydney commuters, writes Alex Mitchell

N E W S

 Rev Kev: Innocent Shall Be Guilty

 Itís Official - Taskforce "Hopeless"

 Hollywood For Tropfest Evictees

 Miner Problem for Feds

 Students Driven to Sleep

 Brogden Dances On Graves

 Let Them Drink Beer

 Traffic Fines Parked

 The Airline That Flew a Kite

 Hundreds Resist Porridge

 Experts Back Better Childcare Pay

 Mushroom Mums Win

 Rotten Fruit Exposed

 Workers Sue Rumsfeld

 Activistís Whatís On

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
The Big Picture
Think about this: It takes 150 tonnes of iron ore to buy a plasma TV, writes Doug Cameron.

The Locker Room
Reducto Ad Absurdo
Phil Doyle offers advice for the lovelorn, and finds that things are getting smaller

New Matilda
Work is In
The rise and fall of the working hours debate in france is relevent to Australian workers, writes Daniel Donahoo and Tim Martyn

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP surveys the upcoming conservative centralist collective attack.

Postcard
Postcard from Harvard
Australian union officials making the annual pilgrimage to the Harvard Trade Union Program learnt that, at least, they are not alone, says Natalie Bradbury.

L E T T E R S
 Stay Terra Firma on Tax
 Janetís Job No Victory
 Royal Finger Lickers
 Will $20 Restore Carr?
 Two Ideas
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Traffic Fines Parked


Victorian traffic fines are gridlocked as workers down mouses in opposition to their pay rises being made conditional on signing AWAs.

The processing of speeding fines and traffic infringements ceased as 120 admin workers at Tenix Solutions protested their right to a collective agreement.

"I thought Australia was a democracy," says one Tenix workplace delegate. "More than 80% of my workmates have voted that they want a fair collective agreement. But our employer can just say no.

"I think that's unfair, undemocratic and unAustralian."

The union representing the Tenix employees is calling on the company to listen and respect the decision the employees have made.

"The individual contracts the company is trying to get them to sign are not about meeting the needs of the individual workers, its about stopping them having a real say and real voice in the workplace," says Ingrid Stitt, secretary of the Australian Services Union. "We are It is time Tenix sat down with the union and negotiated a fair collective agreement.

"These employees have never taken industrial action before but feel so strongly about their rights to respect and a say in their workplace they are taking industrial action today."

Workers at the Tenix Spencer Street office had been asked to sign an individual contract if they wanted a pay increase, even though an independent ballot found that 83% of Tenix workers said they opposed the AWAs and wanted to be covered by a collective agreement.

"All these workers want is the right to choose what type of agreement they are covered by," says ACTU secretary Greg Combet. "Why should they be forced to sign an individual contract when almost every single one of them has expressed their preference for a collective agreement?

"Forcing workers onto individual contracts isn't about choice, its about workplaces where Australians are forced to work harder and longer for less, that's bad for employees their families and even their communities."


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