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Issue No. 262 06 May 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 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

C O L U M N S

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

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

L E T T E R S
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News

Carr Race to Bottom


The NSW Government is shipping million dollar manufacturing contracts interstate and offshore at the cost of thousands of skilled jobs.

AMWU secretary, Paul Bastian, said the most glaring example involved the overhaul of Manly ferry, Freshwater, by a Queensland outfit, bankrupted three years ago, that had to import skilled NSW workers to complete the contract.

Bastian said Brisbane Slipway won the Freshwater contract on price alone using temporary, casual labour; not having an EBA with any union, or any commitment to training.

It beat three established NSW operations that provide fulltime, ongoing work to hundreds of skilled people.

"Our companies might not be the best employers in the world but they have a commitment to fulltime, permanent employment and skills training," Bastian said.

"Brisbane Slipway contracted for this job without a single permanent employee on its books. It hires casuals, from interstate if necessary, and lets them go at the end of a project.

"This tendering process, based entirely on cost, costs us jobs, skills, wage and conditions and will result in a race to the bottom that is unacceptable from a Labor Government."

Bastian said the same mentality was evident in rolling stock tendering that favoured overseas firms at the expense of Hunter Valley-based companies that directly employ more than 600 skilled Australians.

He questioned the sincerity of the Carr Government's public commitment to beating the skills shortage and called on it to "put its money where its press release is".

Unions NSW will push the state government to develop a procurement policy that would enhance the state's skills base.


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