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Issue No. 254 04 March 2005  

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?


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


 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


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

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

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.

 Stay Terra Firma on Tax
 Janetís Job No Victory
 Royal Finger Lickers
 Will $20 Restore Carr?
 Two Ideas
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Hundreds Resist Porridge

Four hundred Bunbury tradesmen who defied attempts to have them fined or imprisoned are on the brink of total victory in their battle for equal pay.

Days after contractors at BHP's Worsley alumina plant won Federal Court injunctions exposing 66 strikers to fines, or gaol, two key employers capitulated and agreed to equal pay for maintenance and construction workers.

Collex, which employs 48 of the workers, is now the only Worsley contractor holding out but workers have voted to stay out as a group until it folds.

CFMEU and MUA members from Perth joined a rally of over 400 tradesmen yesterday, characterising the action as the first major challenge to John Howard's IR agenda.

They arrived at Bunbury just in time to hear Downer Engineering EDI and total Corrosion Control had agreed to strikers' demands.

Bunbury tradesmen have been out since February 4 after contractors refused to cut permanent tradesmen in on rates being negotiated for the site's expansion project.

The contractors won Federal Court injunctions against maintenance tradesmen and, last Tuesday, orders for 66 named workers to return to the site, exposing them to prison or fines of $2000 a day.

Workers rejected both directions.

AMWU organiser, Tony Lovett, said maintenance tradesmen had voted "overwhelmingly" to ignore 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."

Unions WA secretary, Dave Robinson, said the employers' use of punitive laws had lifted the dispute to one of national significance.

"What has come across is the determination of employers to target individual workers and that is what we expect Howard to encourage with his legislation," Robinson said.

"A lot of workers are saying, if that's the colour of his legislation, we are happy to be tested on it."


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