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Issue No. 260 22 April 2005  

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.


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.


 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


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.

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Sunday Too Far Away

Bank workers are being pressured to sign away their weekends for the next 15 months as Westpac moves to enable itself to trade on Sundays.

The push has prompted industrial action with hundreds of Westpac workers walking off the job in Victoria and more action slated for South Australia and Tasmania this week.

Westpac is proposing a 15-month notice period before employees would be able to opt out of weekend work; a move that has been labelled as "locking people away from a weekend".

"We're defending people's right to have a weekend," says Rod Masson from the Financial Sector Union.

"You have to ask yourself, if they don't want to trade on Sundays then why are they setting up the IR system that would allow them to do so,"

Reports from stop work meetings indicated that Westpac employees are furious about moves by the bank to introduce a pay structure which could see their pay reduced.

Other issues discussed at the meeting highlighted the members' intense dissatisfaction with continued harassment to work unpaid overtime, pressure to deliver on unrealistic targets and to do more work with less staff.

The workers have given the Bank until the 1st May to respond to the concerns raised at the meeting.

If no adequate response is received from Westpac by 1st May, workers have flagged further industrial action.

Things Fall Apart

The growing issue of excessive hours will be examined at a special seminar being hosted by Unions NSW.

It brings together leading experts in the fields of ethics, family, work and social research to examine the effects of an increasing workload on society.

The seminar, Things fall Apart: What is work doing to families and community, is set down for the 3rd June 2005 at the Australian Museum Theatrette, College Street, Sydney

For more information, or to RSVP, contact Neale Towart at Unions NSW on 9264 1461, or email [email protected]


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