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Issue No. 258 08 April 2005  

Be My Guest
Is anyone else confused about the current behaviour of our Prime Minister? In just a few short years he�s transformed himself from National Door Bitch to Regional Street Spruiker.


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.


 Cash Grab Targets Families

 Wattyl Lacks Colour

 Censors Ban Workers Online

 Stink Over Water

 Cole Slurs Slide

 Table Hands Stuffed

 Sweat Shop Taxes MLC�s Patience

 Cops Strengthen Thin Blue Line

 Buses Drive Commuters Crazy

 Guards Win Rail War

 Building Families Pocket $15 Million

 Students Mark Lecturers

 Activist�s What�s On


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

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

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.

 Out-of-sight, out-of-your-mind
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Guards Win Rail War

Western Australian Rail Guards have battled back from broken bones and smashed teeth to land a blow on WA rail bosses.

The guards are campaigning against 'single manning', which has left them working alone up to 7pm at night, and instructed not to make arrests.

The WA Branch of the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) claims single manning jeopardises passenger and guard safety.

The matter came to a head last weekend following an assault on several guards on Perth's Northern Line.

Two female guards rostered to work the following Sunday felt insecure about working alone and informed their employer. The Public Transport Authority (PTA), responded by standing them down.

On the Monday more guards refused duties and the matter became a lively community debate on Perth talkback radio.

Instead of addressing the guards safety concerns, the PTA launched an internal investigation, accusing guards of phoning up talkback.

"Many guards have been quite badly beaten," says Glen Ferguson from the RTBU. "We told the Minister that unless this was addressed she would find herself on a war footing with the RTBU."

The women were subsequently reinstated.

Apart from single manning - which the RTBU puts down to short staffing - Ferguson also hit out at PTA treatment of injured workers and the high attrition rate amongst rail guard staff.

"There is a running conflict between their legislative responsibilities and their policies," says Ferguson. "Workers Compensation laws mean that employers have the responsibility to provide workers with other jobs when they are recovering from injury.

"The Public Transport Authority is dodging all its responsibilities in this area. They want to give their injured workers the sack."

Privately employed Chubb Security guards are also up in arms with similar complaints regarding their placement at PTA facilities.


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