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Issue No. 263 13 May 2005  

A Fistful of Dollars
And so the great political debate of our time has become who gets the money and how quickly they can pocket it – the Howard Government’s latest application of the base art of wedge politics.


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.


 Bikies Needle Heroines

 Bosses Play China Card

 Giant Collapses on Ankle

 NAB Cuts More Than Jobs

 Left Footers Kick Back

 Oh Brother, Tim Plays House

 WA on the Block

 Patrick Fails to Hide Asbestos

 Budget Hits Civil Rights

 Combet Launches Shark Attack

 Childcare Wage Grows Up

 US To Drain More Aussie Brains

 Dictators Beg Eric To Stop


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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NAB Cuts More Than Jobs

The National Australia Bank will have to cut service levels by nearly 10 per cent in order to shed 2,000 jobs, under a binding agreement with its workers.

Finance Sector Union NSW secretary Geoff Derrick says that under anenterprise agreement with 24,000 workers, NAB is prohibited from reducing jobs without a commensurate reduction in overall workload.

"We will be holding them to that agreement and testing the validity of the removal every single position," Derrick says.

"This means that, unless the bank can demonstrate how overall workloads will be cut, each staff removal will be considered a breach of the agreement."

The business sense behind a strategy that will increase bank queues by 10 per cent is unclear, but Derrick says NAB appears prepared to undermine its long term prospects in order to prop up its ailing share price.

The job cuts come after NAB high fliers lost $2 billion in a bad US deal last year and a further $670 million because they cut out workers responsible for checks and balances in their processes

"Just last week the NAB admitted it had overcharged customers 10 million dollars because their checks and balances did not work," Derrick says. "Given this track record it is hard to see any justification for cutting jobs."

"Only because of the close links between the NAB, the Business Council of Australia and federal government, can the turkeys in charge of this bank get away with even thinking about this."

The links between NAB and the BCA are deep with both current chair Graeme Kraehe and incoming chair Michael Chaney sitting on the BCA board that famously called for an end to 'fairness' in the workplace earlier this year.


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