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Issue No. 268 17 June 2005  

Courting Public Opinion
This weekend marks a significant step forward in the evolution of union campaigning, with the launch of $8 million in advertising to hit the Howard Government where it hurts – in the lounge rooms of middle Australia.


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


 Insults Hertz

 Andrews Bends Over for Big End

 Boeing, Boeing Gone

 Cobb & Co Punt Parkes

 Corporates Arm Firing Squad

 Quad Gets the Brush

 Practical Joke Costs Police

 Unions Target Soap and Grunt

 US Backs Terrorists

 Royalty Held Hostage in WA

 Bad News Rising On AWAs

 Workers Exercise Choice

 Howard Scores Own Goal

 RailCorp Shocker

 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

 Wandering In The Wilderness
 Once Upon A Time In America
 The Truth Is Out There
 History Repeats
 Cash Cow On Private Tax Farm
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Insults Hertz

Car detailers at Perth airport are being threatened and abused in a bid to keep them on below-par individual contracts.

The workers have been called "wankers" and received threatening messages in Hertz envelopes.

the threatening note that was left under Nicki Shea's windscreen

They are trying to ditch unregistered contracts forced onto them by the WA manager for the hire car company.

"We signed an agreement we didn't agree with,'" says Transport Workers Union delegate Nicki Shea. "We were forced to sign, there was no negotiation."

The car detailing facility works 365 days a year and employees want union wages and penalty rates for working evenings and giving up weekends and public holidays.

When they met outside the facility on May 27 the husband of the WA state manager called staff a "pack of wankers". The WA manager was forced to apologise for her husband's behaviour.

A threatening note was left under Shea's windscreen. The note, inside a Hertz envelope, said, "Not so clever now are you all? Nice car hope it is allright[sic]". The matter has been referred to the police.

The Hertz employees have slammed the threats as "stand over tactics".

The workers took protected industrial action, which resulted in them being locked out over the long weekend of June 4-6.

"It's not a very pleasant place to work," says Shea. "This will only be stemmed when Hertz is prepared to sit down and negotiate in a mature and professional fashion with its workers.

"A fair go is all that is asked. We want to be covered by a TWU agreement."

"We haven't even got Howard's system and already a renegade company thinks that it can contract outside the award system," says Transport Workers Union (TWU) organiser Rick Burton.

The TWU is taking the matter to the WA Industrial Commission this week.


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