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Issue No. 262 06 May 2005  

Rights and Wrongs
Something unseasonal and hitherto untoward has been occurring up at Macquarie Street in recent weeks, a flurry of legislative activity around workers rights.


Interview: Fortress NSW
NSW IR Minister John Della Bosca on how to win the battle for workers rights - and save the state system.

Unions: Fashions Afield
With new anti-sweatshop creations being paraded at this year's Australian Fashion Week, is equity the new black and are sweatshops the new fur? asks Tara de Boehmler.

Industrial: Pay Dirt
John Burgess argues that the flow-on effect from changing the minimum wage could be more than we bargained for.

Politics: Infrastructure Blues
With much attention given belatedly to the shortage of infrastructure, little attention has been given to the structure of infrastructure, writes Evan Jones

History: Big Day Out
Neale Towart looks back on the events that created the May Day heritage.

International: Making History
Hundreds of aid organisations, charities, trade unions and religious groups have formed a global alliance called “ Make Poverty History”.

Economics: The Fear Factor
The solution to skill shortages is intelligent planning, argues John Spoehr

Review: The Robots Revolt
New kids flick Robot uses our electronic friends to teach audiences that inbuilt obsolescence is just a state of mind, writes Tara de Boehmler

Poetry: The Corporation's Power
The idea of a corporations power that could cure any ill has inspired our resident bard, David Peetz, to verse.


 Harmer FACS Families

 Brats Drive Bus Row

 Harsh Reality – Bella Turns Pink

 Rev Kev Blesses Bosses

 Workers Online Legit

 Howard Rides Kiwi Model

 Della Opts for Gaol

 Feds in the Dock

 Carr Race to Bottom

 Bosses Walk on Water

 Govt Gets Claws into Nurses

 Ion Faces Legal Probe


The Soapbox
May Spray
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson delivered the annual May Day Toast - and warned it is no time to be comfortable and relaxed.

The Locker Room
A Rucking Good Time
Phil Doyle reveals many things, some of them useful

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, is back to regale us with inside goss and intrigue from the Bearpit.

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Harsh Reality – Bella Turns Pink

A restaurateur embroiled in a high profile bid to foist individual contracts onto workers says a union campaign cost her reality TV votes.

My Restaurant Rules competitor and Pink Salt manager Bella Serventi was this week forced to repay workers more than $8,000 they were underpaid while on AWAs, championed by the federal government.

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission also ordered the restaurateurs to pay staff award rates, issue pay slips and maintain proper employment records.

Serventi told Workers Online she and her partner, Evan Hansimikali, had never meant to do the wrong thing but had been unaware of their obligations.

"We are 23 years old and have never run a business before but suddenly we are expected to be restaurant owners, chefs, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and industrial relations experts.

"There needs to be more education about what the Award is and what are the minimum standards for NSW workers. There needs to be a non partisan point of contact and an education program," she said.

Serventi says her real fear is that the campaign would undermine public support for her restaurant - and the job security of 30 staff,

State IR Minister John Della Bosca said the NSW Office of Industrial Relations would this year inspect more than 11,000 NSW workplaces and the employment records of more than 100,000 employees.

In Manly, where Pink Salt is located, another compliance campaign covering 50 businesses is scheduled for July.

He said the Pink Salt experience proved that the Federal Government's proposed single industrial relations system based on AWAs would be used to slash wages and working conditions.

"This is not about improving efficiency - as the Pink Salt case demonstrates, the Commonwealth's plans are really aimed at lowering wages and conditions.

"If the federal government has its way, workers throughout the country will be subject to secretive AWAs under the federal system, with no effective way of fighting for their entitlements," he said.


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