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Issue No. 273 22 July 2005  

Split Infinitives
As unions across Australia put up a united front against the Howard IR assault, events across the Pacific serve as a warning of what can happen when individuals start going one out.


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.


 Centrelink to Cheat Workers

 Foot Soldiers Get Blisters

 Feds to Lift Voting Age

 Taskforce Plastered

 Paint It Slack


 Hadgkiss in Safety Failure

 Freedom to Starve

 Police And Thieves

 Feds Make Asbestos Blue

 Scabs Farewelled

 Capital Idea Under Threat

 Masterton Homes Crumbles

 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.

 Frame Up
 Keep the Faith
 Life on a Low Wage
 Seeing the Trees For the Wood
 Carnival Comes to Town
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Taskforce Plastered

Nigel Hadgkiss Building Industry Taskforce sat on its hands while a Wollongong plasterer ripped off an 18-year-old apprentice and defied IRC orders to make restitution.

On June 17, K & K Bowden, was given 28 days to pay CFMEU member, Justin Sutherland, $8800 after being found guilty of discriminating against the teenager, and denying him a range of allowances he had been entitled to.

Commissioner Grayson said he was "comfortably satisfied" the union had made out its case "in all respects" and ordered Bowden to meet its costs.

Thirty five days after the decision was recorded, the CFMEU confirmed Bowden had paid neither sum.

"We will have to file in the local court for a writ of execution," union legal officer, Leah Charlson, said.

"The decision is on the record and has had media coverage but the Taskforce is not interested in breaches by employers that infringe on the rights of workers."

Sutherland told the Commission he had been sacked after asking for travel allowance, and that Bowden had threatened his union membership would "haunt him for a long time".

Sutherland said that prior to his dismissal he had received no indication of dissatisfaction with his work.

The Commission found Sutherland had been dudded of $1680 in travel allowance during his seven months as an apprentice plasterer, along with lesser amounts for tool allowance and termination of employment.

It also found the company had denied him his rostered days off.

The Commissioner said it was "clear" the apprentice had been summarily dismissed because he pursued his entitlements.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted for the Australia Institute, found that the prospect of asking for a pay rise "terrified" or "horrified" the majority of young people.

Labour market economist, Richard Denniss, asked 50 Australians, aged between 23 and 28 in fulltime work, about their attitudes to job security and wage bargaining.

Analysts say the attitude would put young people at a marked disadvantage in an employment environment marked by a shift towards individual agreements.


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