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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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CFMEU Resists Standover Tactics

Kevin Andrews is threatening building industry employers with a federal government blacklist, in defiance of advice from his own department.

The Workplace Relations Minister, last week, tried to stop thousands of Victorian companies signing off on a negotiated agreement with the CFMEU by holding hundreds of millions of dollars worth of government projects over their heads.

Canberra has repeatedly interfered in building industry negotiations, going as far as setting out a "code" of conditions employers must not agree to, if they want to be considered for federally-funded projects.

Andrews' department has ticked off the latest CFMEU agreement as code compliant but, in a last ditch bid to scuttle the deal, the Minister warned he might change the code to render it retrospectively non-compliant.

Andrews delivered the threat after the Master Builders Association locked into the CFMEU's 2005-2008 enterprise bargaining agreement, which delivers standard wage rises and retains 36-hour week provisions.

Workers Online understands Andrews is proposing four changes to guidelines attached to his code and that his department has advised the Victorian agreement meets each of those requirements.

CFMEU assistant national secretary, Dave Noonan, called on Andrews to "butt out" of the negotiations and to "stop interfering with the agreement-making process".

"Kevin Andrews is hell-bent on this worker bashing agenda but it is not working. Hundreds of Victorian companies, employing thousands of workers, have signed the agreement," Noonan said.

"Workers have given it a tick, employers have given it a tick and his own department has ticked off on it. The only person trying to make trouble is the Minister.

"This agreement is important to our members because it will provide security and stability for their families while their wages and conditions are under attack from a government that puts ideology above good policy."

Noonan said Andrews "blacklist threat" was "extraordinary" if reports, that even after he tweaks the code his department believes the Victorian agreement will pass muster, are true.

He said the building industry was too important to be used as a "political football" and warned the Minister standover tactics would not work.


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