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Issue No. 277 19 August 2005  

Weasel Words
We are living in an era where words are not always as they seem, and where language is used to shape the world rather than just describe it.


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


 AWAs Bully the Sisters

 Busted: Howard's 14 Percent Furphy

 Top End of Town to Write IR Laws

 New Laws Make Green Bans History

 Hardies Dodges Responsibility

 Blokes Wouldn’t Cop Child Care Wages

 MPs Duck As Unions Hit the Road

 Profits Do Not Mean Security

 Dodgy Wagons Rolling In

 Telstra: Death By 1,000 Cuts

 Andrews Shafts Employee Safety

 Indon Rail Workers Roll Paycut Plan

 Activist's What's 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.

 Capital Terror
 Think of the Kids
 Let’s Talk
 Stupid Sale
 The Meal
 Stand Your Ground
 Convenient Flagellation
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AWAs Bully the Sisters

Two Krispy Kreme employees went looking for dough, but only found a hole when they were forced to sign Australian Workplace Agreements.

Thea Birch Fitch and Jasmin Smith have joined academics and even the Employment Advocate in telling a Senate Inquiry that women are the big losers from individual contracts.

The two made personal submissions to the Senate Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Committee Inquiry into Workplace Agreements.

They said were pressured to sign individual contracts that left them thousands of dollars out pocket.

The pressure was so great that Fitch was left in a manager's office in tears, while the AWA left Jasmin Smith working a 16.5 hour shift at a flat rate $10.85 an hour.

"My mother approached the Manager to request more time for me to seek further advice,' says Smith, who was 18 at the time. "He refused this request and made it clear that I was expected to return the signed Agreement by the deadline and that no extensions or exceptions would be made."

"This goes to the very issue of what sort of workplace do we want for our kids," says Gerard Dwyer from the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA).

"It's simply unfair to set a kid straight out of school up against a global fast food chain."

The SDA had recently uncovered numerous instances of AWAs leaving retail workers who were already on modest incomes over $70 a week worse off.

Even the Office of the Employer Advocate has conceded women on individual contracts in the retail industry are earning half the wages of men.

In its submission to a the inquiry the OEA patted itself on the back with five year old "customer satisfaction" figures and five year old statistics.

The OEA's senate submission is based in part on research undertaken for the OEA by Paul Gollan from the London School of Economics.

This research was criticised by internationally recognised workplace economist David Peetz who pointed out that it flew in the face of over half a dozen other studies into AWAs.

"One clear factor is the failure to distinguish between managerial/professional and "ordinary" employees,' says Peetz.

"For ordinary employees pay is less satisfactory, hours are likely to increase, and the work-family balance is more difficult for AWA employees than for other employees."

The OEA submission to the Senate Inquiry also stated that:

- 56% of AWAs abolish penalty rates

- 15% limit on hours worked

- 38% let employers direct employees to carry out any type of work, regardless of what they were hired for

- 5% ensured annual leave must be taken

- 1% provided for religious leave and 3% for study leave

- 46% of women on AWAs have access to sick leave

- 53% of people on AWAs found work harder

"The OEA's own submission to the senate inquiry show women in retail are earning 50% of their male counterparts,' says Dwyer. "Sixty eight per cent of AWAs do not prescribe any future pay rises.

Click here to read all the submissions:


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