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Issue No. 267 10 June 2005  

Rivers of Gold
The latest catchphrase from the econmentariat seems to be ‘infrastructure’ – which I think refers to what we used to know as ‘public works’.


Interview: The Baby Drought
Social ethicist Leslie Cannold has delved into why women - and men - are having fewer children. And it all comes back to the workplace.

Industrial: Lies, AWAs and Statistics
David Peetz uncovers the truth behind the latest statistics on earnings under Australian Workplace Agreements.

Workplace: The Invisible Parents
Current government policies about work and family do not reflect the realities of either family life or the modern workplace. writes Don Edgar.

History: Bruce’s Big Blunder
The Big Fella, Jack Lang, gives an eyewitness account of the last time Conservatives tried to dismantle Australia’s industrial relations system.

Politics: All God's Children
The battle for morality is not confined to Australian polittics. Michael Walzer writes on the American perspective

Economics: Spun Out
The business groups are feeling cocky. The feds have announced their IR changes, business says they don't go far enough. What a surprise, writes Neale Towart

International: Shakey Trials
Lyndy McIntyre argues the New Zealnd IR experiment provides warnings - and hope - for the Australian union movement.

Legal: Civil Distrubance
Tom Roberts argues that there is more at stake than an attack on building workers in the looming legsilation.

Review: Crash Course In Racism
Paul Haggis flick Crash suggests that when cars collide the extent of people's prejudices are revealed sans the usual veil of political correctness, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: You're Fired
New laws will leave bosses holding the whip and workers with a Raw Hide, writes resident bard David Peetz


 Feds Wrong on Minimum Wage

 Dogs in Sheep’s Clothing

 Andrews Faces Probe

 NSW Packs IR Scrum

 China Syndrome

 Pirates Of The Canberrean

 Foxtel Scores Own Goal

 Killer Bosses on Notice

 Apprentices Spitting Chips

 Howard Chokes Working Women

 Vice Regal Notes

 Survey – Do it Now or Else

 Greens Join Fight

 Workers win repreive

 Activists Whats On!


The Locker Room
Ashes to Dust
In which Phil Doyle travels to distant lands in search of a meat pie, and prepares for the joys of sleep deprivation

The Westie Wing
Ian West lists the Top Ten reasons why workers in NSW can gain some solace from having the Labor Party sitting on the Treasury benches…

The Soapbox
Dear John
In response to this year’s Federal Budget, Bishop Kevin Manning wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, Mr John Howard

 Secure Advice
 All The Way With The USA
 Expensive Door Charge
 Teen Years in Detention
 Court Cases are Media’s Drug
 Lang Is Right
 Legalising Unfairness
 Hertz Meenz Hurtz
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NSW Packs IR Scrum

AWAs will be barred from state government contracts worth $35 billion as NSW looks to play the Feds at their own industrial game.

A motion before this weekend’s state ALP conference urges the Carr Government to use its power to back workers rights to the same extent that the Feds promote employer interests.

"We expect state Labor governments to fight for the rights to collectively bargain with the same vigour that the Howard government is foisting its AWA agenda on businesses it deals with," Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, says.

"Mr Carr has boasted that his legislation is the most balanced in the country, so we want him to do all in his power to abide by it and defend it."

The union proposal would also enshirine collective bargaining rights on all state government-funded projects.

The move will sidestep Federal government attempts to force workers on infrastructure projects onto individual contracts and would underpin state industrial relations laws.

Business Dole Queried

In a separate motion to be debated at the conference Unions NSW is calling for a review of businesses trousering taxpayers' money.

While welcoming Carr's injection of $35 billion into infrastructure, unions are concerned about the Public Private Partnership model, saying such moves have safety risks and will cost taxpayers.

"We're concerned that Public Private Partnerships can develop into a form of welfare for business," says Unions NSW secretary John Robertson. "We have to be sure that they don't degenerate into privatisation by the back door."

The issue has come to a head around a Public Private Partnership proposal to contract out maintenance of rail rolling stock in defiance of a deal struck between rail unions and the state government.

Rail workers discovered a secret plan by Railcorp to privatise maintenance workshops at Goulburn when the details were left on a fax machine.

"This is a dangerous gamble with rail safety, rail worker's jobs and reliability of services," says Nick Lewocki from the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU), who pointed to the failure of such arrangements overseas.


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