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Issue No. 271 08 July 2005  

Polls Apart
The tragic bombings in London may knock industrial relations off the front pages over the next few days, but it is unlikely to end the groundswell of opposition to the Howard Government's mad grab at workers' rights.


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.


 Then There Were Three

 Dad's Choice Goes AWAL

 OEA Invokes Sgt Schultz

 CFMEU Resists Standover Tactics

 Tall Tales and Two

 Corrine Throws Stones

 Cardinal Adds Weight to Concerns

 Bosses: Unions Beat AWAs

 16 Hours to Recover Worker

 Choice Gets Confusing

 Attack Derailed In Qld

 PM Pulls Rank On Ads

 HT Lee Gravely Ill

 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.

 Don�t Call Me Customer
 Do It Yourself?
 Vale the Eight Hour Day
 The vision thing
 Campaign Pushes Right Buttons
 It�s Time to Punt the PM
 Bob Each Way
 Ads Value
 Travel Allowance?
 Hits the Mark
 Reforms not an Erosion
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Dad's Choice Goes AWAL

A 52-year-old father of three has been sacked for refusing to sign an AWA with his employer of 26 years.

Masterton Homes told carpenter Phil Withington to sign the AWA, which would have slashed his family�s income by more than $7000 a year, or he wouldn�t have a job.

He was one of seven Masterton employees punted after they refused to sign individual contracts, last week, further undermining federal government insistence that its AWAs would be voluntary.

Withington tried to meet his bosses with a union representative but was told he was no longer required.

"I was surprised that they didn't have the respect to discuss the matter," he said.

"I asked if I don't sign what would happen - she [the Masterton representative] said that would be your resignation."

When he raised projects he was working on, he was told contractors would do the job.

"My work was repairing sub-contractors' work," he said.

In the union movement's first "naming and shaming" of a workplace law "abuser", the CFMEU will take Withington's case to prospective Masterton customers outside its Warwick Farm showroom.

Union members are picketing, distributing flyers and talking to customers about the treatment of the seven dumped workers.

They are calling on the public to back their colleagues and join an email campaign, telling Masterton Homes what they think of its action.

The CFMEU's Andrew Ferguson said this was a warning to all employers that if they attacked workers' rights they would be up for a fight.

Withington said he had to take a stand on the issue to set an example for his boys.

"I tell my kids to always stand up for your rights as my father told me," Withington said.

"I said to my wife I have to set an example - I can't go against what I told my boys."

Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said it was "nothing but a fraud" that Masterton Homes continued to bill itself as a company devoted to family security.

Details on how to contact Masterton Homes are available at


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