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Issue No. 260 22 April 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Praying Mantras
The election of a new Pontiff is a moment of cultural significance, a point where the world’s moral compass comes under scrutiny, and not just for the world’s billion-odd Catholics.

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

 Pope Backs Rights At Work

 Trade Deal Built On Corpses

 AWAs Go – So Do Long Hours

 Sunday Too Far Away

 True Lies at RailCorp

 Mushrooms Mums Fed Bull

 Sewage In The Streets

 Taskforce Stands Over Vet

 Engineers in Driving Seat

 Backyard Funerals Targeted

 Work Deaths Get Permanent Reflection

 Yanks Brawl With Mall

 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
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News

AWAs Go – So Do Long Hours


Storeman at a Sydney firm have scored a shorter working week for the same pay after tearing up their individual contracts and demanding the right to strike a collective agreement

The 150 workers dumped the Federal Government inspired Australian Workplace Agreements, after a year of activism and negotiation by the near universal union membership.

Under the new deal workers at State Warehousing & Distribution Services, have had weekly working hours cut from 50 hours to 40.

The AWAs had been in place for seven years, but as membership at the warehoiuse grew so did the pressure for a collective agreement.

The new agreement provides workers at warehouse sites across NSW with five weeks annual leave, increased sick leave and has converted many from casual to full time employees.

Over time rates have also been increased with double time on Sundays and after two hours on time and a half.

NUW organiser Justin Cody says union delegates on site deserve full credit for keeping interest high and providing information to members.

"We provided the comparison to other storeman and what they were losing under the AWAs compared to the award and they took it up from there," said Cody. "After seven years of AWAs they'd had enough"

NUW state secretary Derrick Belan says though the union movement faces uncertain and testing times the NUW's success at SWADS reinforces the importance of strength and resilience.

"The lessons of solidarity and determination backed with the willingness to proactively support our members, whatever the challenge, are the things that will see us outlive any conservative political regime or agenda," said Belan.


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