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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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Workers Online Legit

New laws guaranteeing your right to read Workers Online on the job have begun their passage through parliament.

The Workplace Surveillance Bill 2005 requires employers to notify workers if there is a policy of monitoring email and internet use and makes any form of covert surveillance a criminal offence unless a magistrate can be convinced there is a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

While bosses will still be allowed to establish 'white lists' recommending approved websites they can no longer stop employees accessing union generated emails or websites dealing with industrial issues.

Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, said it was a case of the law catching up with technology.

"Unions have always had the right to place information on workplace notice boards. The web is the notice board of the twenty first century."

Robertson said there were also numerous examples of employers inappropriately monitoring emails, including blocking off email access for unions during industrial action.

Less than a month ago Suncorp was in the Industrial Relations Commission explaining its decision to use an internet firewall to block access to Workers Online. The company also blocked emails from the Finance Sector Union.

Channel 7 recently made headlines spying on its workers and the list of other employers to indulge in covert electronic spying is long.

"This is a significant break-through for workers in NSW and means they can use emails for reasonable private purposes from work without being secretly spied on," Robertson said.

"It is also good news for workers in rural and isolated areas because it gives them equal access to vital information about their rights."


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