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Issue No. 276 12 August 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

The Power of One
The power has now shifted. John Howard has control of the Senate by a solitary vote and no matter where your politics lie, the earth has definitely moved.

F E A T U R E S

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

N E W S

 “Disgusting” AWAs Court Out

 Andrews Agenda Rolled in DEWR

 Sick Days Get Hadgkiss Sniffing

 Fun Guy Skips Work, Docks Staff

 Nurse Launches Neighbourhood Alert

 Security Staff Bush Whacked

 Commo Bank Staff Force Smiles

 Cameron Gets ‘Fair Dinkum’

 Feds: Inconsistency “Not Inconsistent”

 Telstra Dials Up Cash Grab

 Howard Votes Family Last

 PacNat Troops Won't Be Railroaded

 All Aboard Vic Safety Train

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

Parliament
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.

International
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

Postcard
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.

L E T T E R S
 Farmers’ Best Friend
 Govt Has No Case
 Logon to IR
 Ears and Minds
 Howard on the Couch
 Which Bank?
 Kevin the Tool Man
 Tom On Safety
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Commo Bank Staff Force Smiles


Commonwealth Bank managers routinely encourage staff to say they are happier than they really are in internal staff surveys, according to research carried out by the Finance Sector Union.

As outgoing CEO David Murray defended his treatment of workers on the basis of the staff satisfaction surveys, independent research painted a different picture, with half saying they would not recommend the bank as a good place to work.

The McNair Ingenuity research nails the difference in impression: 22 per cent of staff say senior management encourage them to answer positively; and another 53 per cent said they felt under pressure to be falsely positive.

FSU national assistant secretary Sharron Caddie says the research shows that people should take management spin on CBA culture with a grain of salt.

"What this shows is that staff are feeling the pinch from 13 years under David Murray, a culture where there has been constant cuts to staff and services in the name of short term profit.

Murray announced his final profit result this week; a whopping $3.99 billion; prompting workers to release their own evaluation of Murray's 13-year reign.

- 20,000 jobs lost including 3,700 in the 'Which new Bank' cultural change program

- 602 branches closed down

- 125 branches downgraded to agencies or service centres

- 1 in 3 staff living in fear of losing their jobs and the majority saying they would not recommend the Commonwealth Bank as a good place to work

- 1 in 3 staff placed on Australian Workplace Agreements

- third-rate individual contracts through subsidiaries like CommSec being imposed on staff; and

- a refusal by the bank to renegotiate collective enterprise agreements for 20,000+ staff despite repeated requests from the majority of staff to do so.

"The CBA's refusal to renegotiate employees' collective enterprise agreements means legally enforceable pay rates would lag 8% behind rates being paid to EBA staff, Caddie says.

"Market analysts are now starting to say what staff have been telling the bank for years - while cost-cutting and restructuring can lead to short term profits, the long term agenda must be about investing in people and services.

"Mr Murray's departure provides an opportunity for a new direction where workers are treated with respect and their choices are respected - particularly when it comes to bargaining collectively."


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