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Issue No. 270 01 July 2005  

After the Action
After a National Week of Action that has had everything from mass rallies in all capital cities to IR chat rooms opening on the Vogue Magazine website it�s fair to say that the first objective of this campaign � to raise public awareness � has been achieved.


Interview: Battle Stations
Opposition leader Kim Beazley says he's ready to fight for workers right. But come July 1, he'll have to be fighting by different rules.

Unions: The Workers, United
It was a group of rank and filers who took centre stage when workers rallied in Sydney's Town Hall, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: The Lost Weekend
The ALP had a hot date, they had arranged to meet on the Town Hall steps, and Phil Doyle was there.

Industrial: Truth or Dare
Seventeen ivory towered academics upset those who know what is best for us last week.

History: A Class Act
After reading a new book on class in Australia, Neale Towart is left wondering if it is possible to tie the term down.

Economics: The Numbers Game
Political economist Frank Stilwell offers a beginners guide to understanding budgets

International: Blonde Ambition
Sweden can be an inspiration to labour movements the world over, as it has had community unionism for over 100 years, creating a vibrant caring society, rather than a "productive" lean economy.

Training: The Trade Off
Next time you go looking for a skilled tradesman and can�t find one, blame an economist, writes John Sutton.

Review: Bore of the Worlds
An invincible enemy has people turning against one another as they fight for survival � its not just an eerie view of John Howard�s ideal workplace, writes Nathan Brown.

Poetry: The Beaters Medley
In solidarity with the workers of Australia, Sir Paul McCartney (with inspiration from his old friend John Lennon) has joined the Workers Online resident bard David Peetz to pen some hits about the government's proposed industrial relations revolution.


 Don't Get Angry, Get Organised

 Feds Threaten Hardie Battlers

 Beasts of Bourbon Play Dog

 Churches on Workplace Mission

 Unions Are The New Black

 Muster Has Bosses in Fluster

 Workers Flood to Protests

 Official: Libs Don�t Know Own Laws

 Schools Out For Uni Bosses

 IR Campaign Taxing Andrews

 Air Safety at Risk

 Carr Runs Over Lib Laws

 Aga Khan Workers Gaoled

 Activists Whats On!


The Soapbox
State of the Union
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson lifts the lid on �The Nine Myths of Modern Unionism�

The Locker Room
Wrist Action
Phil Doyle trawls the murky depths of tawdry sleaze, and discovers Rugby is behind it all.

To Hew The Coal That Lies Below
Phil Doyle reviews Australia's first coal mining novel, Black Diamonds and Dust.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite State MP, Ian West, reports from Macquarie Street that the Premier is all the way with a State Commission.

 Workers Give In FNQ
 Power and the Passion
 Mao and Then
 The Third Way Hits A Dead End
 Unfair For All
 What Is To Be Done?
 Black Hawk Up
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Feds Threaten Hardie Battlers

The Howard Government is threatening Melbourne workers who marched in support of asbestos victims with $6600 fines.

Its Department of Employment and Workplace Relations has sent letters to the homes of around 100 people from Visy Cartons�, Broadmeadows, warning each that they face "a maximum penalty of 60 penalty units ($6600)" for joining the campaign against James Hardie.

AMWU state secretary, Dave Oliver, called the government's position "disgraceful".

"The Howard Government wants to prosecute workers who had the gumption to stand up for dying Australians by trying to make James Hardie meet its responsibilities," Oliver said.

"I thought Australia was a democracy. This business of penalising people's families because they had the courage to attend a political rally is disgraceful."

The Visy workers joined a massive trade union campaign that forced James Hardie to punt its chief executive, issue apologies, and strike a deal delivering asbestos-disease sufferers more than $1.5 billion.

The company had tried to dodge its obligations by undertaking a complex restructure and moving its head office to Holland, away from the reach of Australian law.

A Commission of Inquiry found James Hardie had misled the Supreme Court, the NSW government, asbestos disease sufferers, and the general public.

Visy, a private company run by billionaire Richard Pratt, won Section 127 Orders preventing its employees from joining the outcry against James Hardie's behaviour, last September.

The orders were granted under Howard Government laws that make political stoppages, or even meetings, illegal.

Oliver said members felt so strong about James Hardie's behaviour they had attended the rally.

The AMWU supported them and, after negotiations, Visy agreed to shelve legal action.

However, Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews' department had come in over the company and taken over the prosecutions.

Workers Online understands that Visy has asked the department to drop the actions but that it has declined.

Each worker has been accused of failing to "complete a full shift" on September 15, 2004.

James Hardie is a member of the Business Council of Australia, a key voice in the chorus promoting John Howard's workplace change program.


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