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Issue No. 257 01 April 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Icarus Rising
Right now John Howard is flying. Watch him soar in his Vodafone track-suit, further than the Hawke into unchartered skies.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: [email protected]
Labor's Penny Wong has the job of getting more people into the workplace and keeping companies honest. In her spare time ....

Unions: State of the Union
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson unveils the annual survey of attitudes of workers to their jobs, thier lives and the union.

Industrial: Fashion Accessories
Jim Marr unpacks the unlikely claim of a suburban house to be considered the New Mecca of the New Right …

Legal: Leg Before Picket
Chris White looks at how the federal industrial changes will impact on the basic right to strike.

Politics: Business Welfare Brats
Neale Towart asks why the only form of legitmate welfare seems to be going to the top end of town.

Health: Cannabis Controversy
Zoe Reynolds looks at how drug and alcohol testing is leading to some addled outcomes.

Economics: Debt, Deficit, Downturn
As the indicators head south, Frank Stilwell wonders whether it is the way we do economics that is to blame.

History: Politics In The Pubs
Phil Doyle reports on the increasingly-popular Struggles, Scabs and Schooners day out.

Review: Three Bob's Worth
Doing their best Margaret and David, Tara de Boehmler and Tim Brunero have different takes on the new Australian flick Three Dollars.

Poetry: Do The Slowly Chokie
Workers Online bard David Peetz teaches how workers to dance to Howard's industrial laws.

N E W S

 Health System to Subsidise Shonks

 Who Likes Bing Lee?

 Death Threats Shut Campsie

 Thumbs Down for Union Busters

 Advocate Pours Salt on Wound

 United Front Beats Drug Boss

 Kev Backs Double Standard

 Victorian Morality Shafts Teacher

 Doctors Prescribe More

 Multinational Banks Jobs

 Working Class Idol

 Greens Protect Entitlements

 Activist’s What’s On

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Notes From a Laneway
Mental Health Workers Alliance member Toby Raeburn shares a week on the frontline.

The Locker Room
War, Plus The Shooting
The Socceroos aren’t their own worst enemy after all, or so says Phil Doyle

Culture
Life Imitates Art
The jokes have been around for some time about the economic rationalist's approach to the orchestra, writes Evan Jones.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West takes the secret passage out of Macquarie Street to deliver his take on NSW Parliamentary Committees and other goings on.

L E T T E R S
 Students Bear Brunt
 Security Lacking
 Bus Lanes On Vic Rd
 Dirt Cheap Right On Money
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

United Front Beats Drug Boss


A nine-day lockout has ended with a comprehensive win for workers at Merck Sharp and Dohme’s South Granville factory.

The workers succeeded in securing a union endorsed EBA – the first for the pharmaceutical plant - with the support of the local community and other workers.

A colourful peaceful protest was maintained at the company's gates, and the workers, many of them first time union members, received support from the local community, workers at neighbouring factories and other unionists.

Merck Sharp and Dohme had been attempting to introduce a US style working conditions.

"The support from other workers gave them the ability to stick with their campaign," says Unions NSW assistant secretary Mark Lennon. "There was a lot of community support; people were driving past, tooting horns."

"It's clear there's a lot of sentiment in the community supporting workers battling the big business agenda."

The peaceful protest received support from Unions NSW, Transport Workers Union, National Union of Workers and CFMEU members as well as their colleagues from the AMWU. Money was raised for the locked out workers and numbers were swelled at the peaceful protest.

"The workers made themselves at home and dug in," says Harry Delaney from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU). "In the end the company offered to negotiate."

Merck Sharp and Dohm met with the AMWU at the union's Granville office and signed off on an agreement securing pay rises for employees and securing existing entitlements.

The company expected one worker with 15 years experience to work unpaid overtime, but the involvement of the union meant they were able to maintain existing entitlements.

Labour Hire introduced during the strike has since been removed from the site.


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