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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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Paint It Slack

John Howard’s Office of the Employment Advocate is spruiking AWAs that would rip $360 a week out of family budgets.

A model Australian Workplace Agreement for a "brush hand", displayed on the OEA’s website, takes away paid annual leave, paid sick leave and paid public holidays.

The agreement, being promoted to employers as an alternative to enterprise bargaining agreements, states the lost penalties are compensated for by the $17.50 hourly rate of pay.

The all-in rate contrasts to the $21.49 per hour that a painter makes on an enterprise agreement in the Wollongong area, which does not include a range of penalty payments and allowances.

The OEA is legally obliged to apply a No Disadvantage Test to secret individual agreements that measure them against safety-net awards. Even against that standard, the OEA document comes up $94 a week short, according to the CFMEU.

The model AWA also sets out a standard 40 hour week, which the agreement states can be reduced without pay at the employer's whim.

However, if the employee is required to work beyond the 40 hours, pay continues at the standard rate without overtime penalties, which are usually protected under an enterprise agreement.

CFMEU Wollongong's David Kelly said the AWA put legitimate businesses at a disadvantage against employers who wanted to deny workers their entitlements.

"Illegitimate small businesses will be forced into the system," Kelly said.

Kelly measured the payments set out in the OEA's pattern AWA against rates paid in Wollongong collective agreements.

Besides the all-in figure being $3.99 an hour shy of the base rate, it made no compensation for daily travel allowance, annual leave, leave loading, a 36-hour week or a $3.50 an hour productivity bonus.


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