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Issue No. 265 27 May 2005  

Hit and Myth
John Howard came to power on the back of a myth about the sort of Australia we had once been; now he is creating a new myth about the sort of Australia we want to become.


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.


 Sign or You're Gone

 Unions Back a Winner

 Howard Chases Nurses

 Victims Champ Joins Resistance

 Red and Green Blue

 Usual Suspects Lead Cheer Squad

 Ugly Australian On Charges

 Aussies Longer and Harder

 Guard Attached, Then Sacked

 Doh – Homero Loses Voice

 Bunbury Families Win Payouts

 Double Standards For Dads

 Libs Back 'Illegal' Rally

 TAFE Teaches A Lesson On Winning

 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.

 One Hell Of A Job
 US Fan Mail
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Sign or You're Gone

A group of young Sydneysiders is resisting "sign or you're sacked" AWA ultimatums.

Storeman Daniel Pestano is not happy about the prospect of his workmates at Appaloosa Holdings, Banksmeadow, becoming the first victims of John Howard’s latest IR experiment.

In a vision of the Prime Minister's workplace of the future, they were outsourced without warning to labour hire firm, E.L. Blue, who offered them their existing jobs conditional on "agreeing to the terms of employment contained in the Australian Workplace Agreement".

"We're not happy about it," Pestano said. "There was no choice. They offered the contract as take it or leave it."

The NUW's Derek Belan said more people would be "chewed up and spat out" by companies or agencies "offering a pittance" if Howard got his way on workplace deregulation.

"The 'sign here or you're sacked' employment offer would become the norm," he warned.

Appaloosa Holdings employed 18 people, aged 16-25, working under a State Award. Fourteen have signed a petition saying that they don't want to be put on an AWA.

The AWA they have been offered strips their conditions, putting them on a seven-day roster where they can be employed anywhere and at anytime with minimal notice. They lose guaranteed weekly hours.

"Well if these kids don't sign, they're gone," E. L. Blue senior operations manager, Victoria Keeys, told the NUW.

"The way that Appaloosa Holdings have treated their employees is appalling," says Mark Ptolemy from the NUW. "These young workers have been fed to an aggressive and greedy labour hire agency, with an offer much less then what they had.

"They have been given an ultimatum that they either sign their individual contracts or hit the road."

Entrenching AWAs is a key part of the Howard Governments workplace law reforms announced this week.

Under the new rules workers rights to not be disadvantaged by the introduction of AWAs would be dumped, with the test being set against the proposed Fair Pay Commission and conditions set by the government.


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