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Issue No. 255 11 March 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

A Skillful Ruse
If you ever wanted a case study into the adage that big business is all about ‘privatising the profits and socialising the losses’ then look no further than the current skills crisis.

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 Doesn’t Live With Us Anymore
Andreia Viegas’ 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 – 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

 Killer Company Sent Down

 Once Upon a Time in Bexley

 Defence Contractor at War

 Steeple Takes a Tumble

 Tribunal Goes the Bash

 Nurses On Top

 Uni Rolled on Casuals

 Howard Strips GEERS

 Septics Dump On Aussie Jobs

 Banks Safety Interest

 Feds Should Help Kids

 Safety Stars at Opera House

 Three Dollars Free For Readers

 Toast the Days Of Old

 Clinton Boycotts Hotel

 Activist’s What’s 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
 The Auld Mug
 Banks Are Great
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Nurses On Top


Kiwi nurses are celebrating the end of an IR system being aped by John Howard with $10,000 a year wage increases.

Twenty thousand Nurses Organisation members voted up the historic "fair pay" settlement, last week, after years of community campaigning.
 

The deal, thrashed out in the first national collective agreement, since individual and single-site agreements were mandated by the 1991 Employment Contracts Act, delivers wage movements of between 20 and 30 percent.

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation says it will "stem the tide of nurses flooding out of the health system".

"After a decade and half of divide and rule industrial relations in the health sector, this agreement will put a fragmented nursing workforce back together and go a long way to addressing the undervaluing of the work our members do," said NZNO spokesperson, Laila Harré.

"Our Fair Pay claim has been met and that will mean that over the next 16 months nurses and midwives will catch up to other groups through a series of pay increases."

Fourth year Wellington registered nurse, Serena Stace, agreed in an interview with that city's Dominionpost newspaper.

"I was thinking of going overseas but this will encourage me to stay a bit longer," she said.

A key factor in the final agreement was the establishment of an independent inquiry into staffing levels that will make recommendations to health authorities.

The deal is the result of a massive collective campaign undertaken by Nurses Organisation members.

They rallied in centres around the country, wore t-shirts, badges and collected thousands of signatures on petitions supporting their claims.

In a statement, their organisation said that collectivism, backed by a commitment to strike action, had given negotiators the strength to secure the biggest public service pay settlement in New Zealand's history.


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