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Issue No. 261 29 April 2005  

Lest We Forget
Just four days separate Anzac Day and the International Day of Mourning for Deaths at Work, but in the eyes of our leaders the gap could be 100 years.


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 Ö

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.


 Employers Desecrate Graves

 Blackadder Bones Boss

 Tights Fail In Flight

 Dick Tracy Booted In Blacktown

 Cops Not Fashion Victims

 Picnic On for Working Families

 Skinny Pay Starves Weight Watchers

 Banks Get Work For Free

 Aged Care Workers Off Their Feet

 Cleaners Clean Up

 VSU Bad for Business

 Unions Urge Fair Go For Timorese

 Activistís Whatís 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 arenít 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.

 It's Criminal
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Skinny Pay Starves Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers ambassadors being paid as low as six dollars an hour to spruik the product are taking action to beef up their earnings to the national minimum wage.

The ambassadors - who are referred to as 'leaders' by the company - are arguing they should be considered employees and are entitled to the $18 an hour that a minimum rate award would deliver.

They are flocking to join the LHMU and have formed an 'Interested Leaders Group' to help raise awareness about their rough deal.

So far the company has refused to meet with the union except when they were forced by the Industrial Relations Commission and says it will not consider formalising an hourly rate for the leaders.

The leaders are currently paid from $27 to organise and conduct a two hour meeting which entails five hours work and the rest of their pay must be earned through a paltry commission system. It is not unusual for leaders to earn less than $10 commission or to go without if targets had not been met.

LHMU NSW President Jim Lloyd said it was now time for Weight Watchers to show some leadership in looking after their leaders who help the multinational move around $2billion worth of products each year.

"We're talking about people that are paid $27 to do 5 hours work. This is an

American style minimum wage."

Lloyd said the leaders were providing a valuable service for Australians and they deserved to be compensated appropriately.

"The LHMU is concerned about Australian health and fitness. With half of all

Australian adults categorised as obese these people are doing a vitally

important job for the health of our society."

Weight Watchers says it will outline the details of the offer it is prepared to make its leaders by the end of May.

Meanwhile the leaders are literally taking a stand in workplace meetings, where they are taking it in turns to stand up and announce to colleagues that they are now members of their union.


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