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Issue No. 275 05 August 2005  

Iemma’s Dilemmas
The past fortnight has seen the sort of upheaval in NSW that reminds us all that politics is a very tenuous game with few certainties and even fewer rules.


Interview: On Holiday
Historian Richard White looks back on the Aussie vacation - and finds a way of life is under threat.,

Unions: One Day Longer
Nathan Brown travels to the Boeing picket line and find a group of workers with a steely determination to stick together.

Industrial: Never Mind the Bollocks
Jim Marr plays the Howard Government's industrial relations spin job on its merits.

Politics: Spun Out
Canberra’s latest campaign underlines the need for controls over government advertising, according to Graeme Orr and Joo-Cheong Tham

Economics: If the Grog Don't Get You ....
Evan Jones explains how the way we purchase alcolohol reflects the type of economy we live in.

History: Taking a Stand
Neale Towart looks at two books that chronicle how to build community support against social injustice.

International: The Split
Amanda Tattersal outsider's account of an insider's shake-out at the AFL-CIO Convention 2005

Legal: Pushing the Friendship
George Williams argues that the federal government’s constitutional powers are not sufficient to enact a comprehensive national industrial relations scheme

Poetry: Simple Subtractions
The latest blitz of taxpayer-funded advertising has revealed a crisis of arithmetic in government ranks has moved resident bard David Peetz to prose.

Review: Sydney Trashed
Sydney band SC Trash are on a mission to give new life to folk and country music – and the politics of common sense. Nathan Brown had a beer with them


 Carmen's Boss No Fun Guy

 Discriminating Centrelink on Charges

 Uproar Over Holiday Plans

 Do The Bus Stop

 Taxpayers to Fund Advertising Orgy

 Get Up Stands Up

 Andrews Provokes Showdown

 Thousands in Super Rort

 Constituents Don’t Trust Andrews

 Skill Shortage Fabricated

 Yanks Short Change Tradesmen

 Howard Steamroller Hits Building Sites

 CFMEU Bans Ferguson

 Activists Whats On!


The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, goes away for a couple of weeks and look what happens…

The Soapbox
The Last Weekend
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson's speech to the Last Weekend - how the Howard government laws will undermine the Ausrtalian way of life.

The Locker Room
A Concept Is Born
In which Phil Doyle helps the proponents of the vision thing across the road.

Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

London Post
During his recent stay in London IEU industrial officer John Shapiro was living only a few hundred metres from the site of one of the bomb blasts.

 Back To The Past
 AFL-CIO Not The Only War
 Be Afraid
 Frame Up
 We Love Morris
 ANew Development
 A Readers Suggestion
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Bad Boss

Carmen's Boss No Fun Guy

When a Sydney single Mum questioned an AWA that stripped her of holiday, sickness, long service and redundancy entitlements, she was sacked.

Imperial Mushrooms, of Londonderry, dumped Carmen Walacz Vel Walewska when she asked why it also paid a rate 40 cents an hour below the award.

"It's put a lot of pressure on me," she said.

"My whole life has been turned upside down since I've been working there."

Walacz Vel Walawska broke down addressing Unions NSW delegates who applauded her courage in coming forward to shine a light on her treatment.

Walacz Vel Walewska said she had been sceptical about the contract, but signed because she was told, if she didn't, she would only work when nobody else was available.

"They wanted me to sign this paper there and then, if I did not I was going to be put on call," she said.

After learning AWA wage rates were also below award standard, Walacz Vel Walewska let co-workers know and approached management for an explanation.

She later received a phone call from her employer, telling her she was sacked because of poor performance, even though she had not received any warnings about her work standards.

Walacz Vel Walewska said it had put strain on her and on her relationships.

AWAs are the Howard Government's preferred form of employment contract. It plans to reduce compliance requirements in a bid for broader take-up.

The AWA Walacz Vel Walewska signed rolled the following award entitlements into a $15.80 hourly rate - holiday pay, holiday loading, long service leave, sick pay, penalty rates, meal allowance, travel allowance, parental leave, bereavement leave, redundancy and severance entitlements.

It required her to "remain flexible at all times" and to be available to "work in other areas".

The Australian Workers Union's Bill Shorten said the situation exposed the truth on AWAs.

"The Howard Government likes to tell us workers are better off on individual contracts - try telling that to Carmen who now has to fight for her job because she dared to stand up for herself and her fellow workers," Shorten said.

The AWU will hold a rally outside Imperial Mushrooms next week to push for Walacz Vel Walewska's reinstatement.


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