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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´┐Żt 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 ´┐Ż its not just an eerie view of John Howard´┐Żs 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 ´┐ŻThe Nine Myths of Modern Unionism´┐Ż

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´┐Żt Call Me Customer
 Do It Yourself?
 Vale the Eight Hour Day
 The vision thing
 Campaign Pushes Right Buttons
 It´┐Żs Time to Punt the PM
 Bob Each Way
 Ads Value
 Travel Allowance?
 Hits the Mark
 Reforms not an Erosion
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Tall Tales and Two

The Howard government is telling employees one thing and employers another as it scrambles to salvage its IR agenda.

Two fact sheets produced by the government under the banner of ´┐ŻBuilding Better Workplace Relations´┐Ż reveal inconsistencies.

One example is unfair dismissal . The government is cagey about the information it gives employees about the new arrangements, merely saying they will have to wait six months before they can access "remedies".

Employers are informed such "remedies" are a "burden" and that they can now "focus on retaining the best employees". Employers are told that this provides "greater certainty for employers and employees".

Other key discrepancies include:

The employers fact sheet listing "benefits across the board - improved productivity, higher real wages, more jobs and stronger economic growth", despite an absence of evidence of any of this, and even some evidence from the OECD to the contrary.

Employers being told there are a "clear" set of minimum conditions; this information is withheld from employees.

Assistance is offered to employers from the OEA, employees are merely told the OEA will "enforce" the laws.

Employers are also told that the government will ensure the rule of law is restored to the building and construction industry. This refers to policy that has already seen over $100 million spent to achieve just one prosecution.

Bosses are also informed of government moves to:

exempt small business from making redundancy payments;

remove 'industrial' barriers to the take up of school based new apprenticeships and part-time apprenticeships;

provide tougher laws in relation to industrial action.

stamp out "pattern bargaining".

None of this information is revealed in the "fact" sheet sent out to Australians who identify themselves as employees.


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