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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

The Airline That Flew a Kite


Qantas has turned staff insecurity into an artform in an effort to keep a low morale workforce under the thumb, says ASU assistant secretary Linda White.

The claim came in response to "another" management plan to axe thousands of jobs, despite the company posting a record $660 million profit last year, and a half year figure to December of $460 million.

The management plan dubbed "Simplifying the Business" could lead to Qantas slashing up to 10 percent of its 30,000 workforce

But an internal report leaked last week shows staff morale could hardly be eroded by the mooted cuts as it was already at record lows in some divisions.

The report found only 22 percent of long haul employees felt "engaged" in the company and it's future, compared to 75 percent at Virgin Blue, Australian Airlines and Hewlett Packard.

The morale findings were amongst the lowest ever recorded by international human resources company, Hewitt Associates.

Over 8000 staff participated in the six month survey.

White, who's 10,500 members work in administration across all divisions of the airline, says staff feel under pressure which creates insecurity, when by any industry indicator they are doing the best in the world.

Over the last five years the national carrier has used terrorist attacks, fears over SARS and, more recently, high oil prices and increased competition to keep the pressure on staff.

This year Qantas mooted shedding 7000 jobs amongst long haul staff in the middle of EBA negotiations.

"Qantas is a lean, mean fighting machine," says White "There is not an area which hasn't been touched in the last three or four years, there is no fat there, Qantas does not even replace people when they are sick."

"This happens year after year, it's a way to get people to accept less than what they are worth.

"They are crying wolf...after a while it wears a thin."


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