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Issue No. 264 20 May 2005  

Conviction Politics
In modern politics even ideology has become a matter of convenience; look no further than the principle that ‘third parties’ need to be removed from the workplace.


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.


 BHP Gets Decision to Die For

 Howard Turns to Water

 PM Noses into Pinocchio Territory

 Protest is Child’s Play

 A Baloney Deal Under Fire

 Decapitation Witness Dudded

 Newsroom Bullies Make Headlines

 Nelson Takes Axe To Brains

 Council Unhealthy for Families

 Top End Leader Backs Unions

 A Storm In Every Port

 Greens Go Rights

 Activist’s What’s On!


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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Council Unhealthy for Families

Bankstown City Council is denying a one of its environmental health officers time to care for his preschool age children.

The Council boasted it was a family friendly employer in the job ad that netted the man but has now back-flipped on a commitment to let him condense his work from five days a week to four.

Development and Environmental Professionals' Association secretary Ian Robertson said the employee was told during his job interview that if he worked five days per week for a year he could then apply to work a four-day week.

One year later the offer no longer stands and the matter has been lodged in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, resulting in a recommendation he work his 35-hour week over four days for a three month trial period.

Despite the trial's success Robertson says the man was refused the opportunity to keep it up on the basis the Council does not have the resources as its team of environmental health officers are required to inspect food outlets, sewage and other complaints throughout the week.

A flexibility for work and family clause contained in the Local Government (State) Award says the Council may agree on flexible work and family leave arrangements to enable employees to attend to work and family responsibilities. It also says councils shall not unreasonable withhold such agreements provided operational needs are met.

"Bankstown Council's ad boasted of family friendly provisions for part-time and full-time work and it continues to boast in its ads - but the reality is certainly not evident in this instance."

"If parents - and particularly men - want to participate in this kind of involvement it should be encouraged."

"This is precisely the kind of dispute that we will not be able to run any longer if Howard has his way with the industrial relations system."

DEPA will meet with Bankstown Council again next week.


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