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Issue No. 272 15 July 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Home Ground Advantage
American pollster Vic Fingerhut has been in Australia this week with a reassuring message to the labour movement - it's OK to stand up for what you believe in - and it might even win you elections.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 PM Rallies on Spin

 Crafty Boss Bytes Staff

 Andrews Faces "Thuggery" Challenge

 Delta Blues

 NRL Plays Man Not Ball

 Boeing Hits Turbulence

 Whole Truth Eludes Rev Kev

 Correct Weight Caulfield

 Business Nervous Over IR Changes

 Last Weekend Gets a Lift

 Free Pass for Death Doctors

 Activists Whats On!

C O L U M N S

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.

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

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

L E T T E R S
 Do It Yourself?
 Goodthink
 The vision thing
 True Lies
 You C.A.N. Do It
 Water Works
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Delta Blues


An electrician who tried to retire because of severe depression has been ground out of $95,000 worth of leave entitlements.

Brian Healey had his application for retirement on ill health rejected by Delta Electricity, his employer for 25 years, even though the company believes he is unable to work.

The 52-year-old was forced to use up his accrued sick leave, annual leave and long service leave over a year to survive while Delta put him in the Catch 22 situation.

"It's just bizarre," he said.

"Which ever way I've gone they've put me in a corner."

Healey took sick leave for two weeks in March last year after his doctor had certified him unfit for work due to depression.

When he was reassessed fit for work, Delta made him book an appointment with another doctor and forced him to take sick leave until then.

The doctor assessed him as fit, but Delta rejected Healey's request for the sick leave to be reimbursed.

He then applied to retire on ill health for his depression, which was rejected by Delta, who forced him to take sick leave.

Healey alleges Delta told him if he dropped his demands for reimbursement of sick leave and signed away his right to further independent medical assessment, then his application to retire may be considered.

He said he had followed the processes for retiring on ill health to the letter, but Delta kept moving the goalposts.

"They're making it up as they go along."

Healey has since won a workers compensation claim against Delta for contributing towards his depression. Delta has appealed.

The Electrical Trades Union's Russell Wilson said Delta could be trying to make an example of Healey.

"They might say look what it cost him to retire on ill health," Wilson said.


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