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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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Guard Attached, Then Sacked

A CityRail guard with an unblemished record who was attacked while trying to protect his passengers has been sacked by RailCorp.

"RailCorp are not protecting their own workers or the public," says Phillip Kessey from the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU). "Here we have undesirable characters who have more rights than rail workers."

The guard had requested a passenger extinguish a cigarette. Instead the passenger got off the train and began hurling abuse at the guard, threatening to kill him.

Two weeks after this incident the same passenger noticed the guard on another train at Fairfield and ran down the stairs hurling abuse and threats.

The guard got off his train in a bid to deal with the matter in a way that would not endanger passengers on his train.

The passenger ran at the guard, who took evasive action, however, a very short struggle ensued.

Despite no complaint from the passenger the guard was sacked for entering into a physical struggle.

The guard appealed to the Transport Appeal Board, RailCorp's 'independent umpire', but his appeal was dismissed. Evidence was given at the Board that the passenger was undesirable and that he was "well known" to station staff and police.

"RailCorp is fostering a 'blame the worker culture' and using dismissal as a first step in any disciplinary action rather than conducting proper internal investigations," says RTBU secretary, Nick Lewocki. "The guards have expressed concern that this style of management is being endorsed by the Transport Appeals Board who is supposed to be the independent umpire."

"This situation makes the work of honest rail workers almost impossible and severely restricts their ability to provide a quality service to the travelling public of NSW."

In another case a guard with 9 years service was dismissed after RailCorp received a complaint claiming the guard had something in his hand and was attempting to take a photo or "something like that".

The guard appealed to the Transport Appeals Board where the allegation he faced was dismissed - despite this the Board confirmed the decision of RailCorp to dismiss the guard.

"The guy walked in the door defending one allegation, " says Kessey. "But they found him guilty of something else and he walked out without a job."

Train guards called for stop work meetings if the current culture within RailCorp management is not addressed.

The RTBU wants to see a review of the process of how complaints against RailCorp staff dealing directly with the public are investigated, rules of evidence and procedural fairness introduced into internal investigation processes, and a review of the Transport Appeals Board's role as an independent umpire.


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