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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

Bosses Walk on Water


A slow drip of frustration over management tactics within Sydney Water bubbled into strike action this week when a worker with diabetes was stood down without pay.

As word spread of the stand-down, which workers saw as part of a systematic program to force order colleagues out of the organisation, depot after deport walked off the job.

The worker in question had taken some leave - on doctor's orders- to get his blood/sugar levels back in balance. Upon getting the all clear from his doctor, he turned up at Sydney Water's Seven Hills depot on Wednesday, armed with return to work certificate.

However, management said he was too ill to work and stood him down.

Seven Hills workers withdrew their labour in support of their workmate. By Wednesday evening depots across Sydney had shut down in solidarity and 500 Sydney Water employees were on strike.

On Thursday Sydney Water managemers were under the blowtorch of media scrutiny as water mains started to overflow while repair crews staffed picket lines.

By mid afternoon that day Sydney Water management had been hauled before the IRC, and orders were issued for the Seven Hills worker to be reinstated.

Australian Services union secretary Sally McManus told the media, Sydney Water treats its workers the same way it treats the public - as a bit of a nuisance.

"This is the organisation that has outsourced key services and now estimates water bills rather than actually reads meters," McManus says.

"It is also an organization that would stand down a sick worker, even though he produced a doctors certificate saying he is fit to return to work."

The dispute came hot on the heels of IRC orders last week that saw management forced to respect rostering arrangements.


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