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Issue No. 279 02 September 2005  

Middle Australia
The Prime Minister rarely responds directly to criticism, so when he rushed out a media release rebutting an ACIRRT analysis of wages data this week, it was clear that they had a hit a raw nerve.


Interview: Polar Eclipse
Academic David McKnight challenges some sacred cows in his new book "Beyond Left and Right".

Industrial: Wrong Turn
Radical labour reform is on the horizon but some workers, like Sydney bus driver Yvonne Carson, have seen it all before, writes Jim Marr.

Unions: Star Support
It wasn't just families who backed workers' rights at The Last Weekend, but a bunch of musicians who set the tone, writes Chrissy Layton.

Workplace: Checked Out
Glenda Kwek asks you to consider the plight of the retail worker, and shares some of her experiences

Economics: Sold Out
The Future Fund and industrial relations reform are favourite projects of the PM and the Treasurer. Both are speculations on the future and the only guarantee with them is that you will be worse off, writes Neale Towart.

Politics: Green Banned
The impact of new building industry laws wonít be confined to one industry, writes CFMEU national secretary John Sutton.

History: Potted History
Lithgow is a place with a proud history as a union town. The origins of broader community solidarity lie in the early industrial development of the town and the development of unions. The Lithgow Pottery dispute of 1890 was a key event.

International: Curtain Call
The curtains have opened for East Timorís young theatre performers, thanks to a Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA project.

Review: Little Fish
At last! An Aussie film with substance, suspense and a serious dose of reality, writes Lucy Muirhead

Poetry: Slug A Worker
In a shock development, the Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, gave a ringing endorsement to the poetry pages of Workers Online, writes resident bard David Peetz.


 Trucks Run Down Mums

 Boom! Biff! Itís Howard Unplugged

 Fun Guy Spreads Fertiliser

 Doors Close on Battered Mums

 Bing Lee Peddles Rubbish

 Bless This Bus

 High Court: Ads Do Kremlin Proud

 Families Water Win

 Tesltra Cuts Get Poor Reception

 Vegetable Campaign Sprouts

 Check Work/Family Balance Here

 Tim Wins For Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA

 Activists Whatís On!


The Soapbox
Families First
New Senator Stephen Fielding turned a few heads with his Maiden Speech to Parliament.

The Locker Room
The New World Order
Phil Doyle declares himself unavailable for the fifth and deciding test.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, reports from the NSW Government's Safety Summit

On The Bus
A bright orange bus travelling the state has become the focus of the campaign against federal IR changes. Nathan Brown was on board.

 Care Confusion
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Boom! Biff! Itís Howard Unplugged

A mine manager who stymied a safety inspection and shirt-fronted an organiser has threatened workers that their pay will be slashed if they join a union.

The incidents at Hartley - just west of the Blue Mountains Ė is a sign that the coming changes to federal industrial relations are emboldening employers to take on their unionised workforce.

Warren Baker, from the Australian Workers Union (AWU), says he visited the site, to speak to mineworkers earlier this week about plans to put them on to AWAs.

After workers quizzed Baker about their right to have an EBA, the mine manager called the AWU official a "dog", told him that anyone who joined the union would lose over award payments, shirt fronted him and tried to kick him off the site.

Acting on an anonymous tip-off, Baker returned the following Monday accompanied by fellow organiser Wally Dedula to do a safety inspection only to run into the manager again in an office on the site.

"He entered and yelled at me 'what are you doing on site!' grabbed my arm, pulling me around,' says Baker, who described the mine manager as a "big bloke". He started ranting and raving and said to Wally Dedula 'you can piss off too'!"

Baker says that the manager then shirt fronted Dedula as well, raising his fist as if to punch him, claiming he had been spat on, before turning on Baker and slapping his face.

The incidents have now been reported to police.

Union NSW secretary John Robertson says these types of incidents are being tacitly endorsed by the Howard Government. "The time has come to make the Prime Minister responsible for the worst actions of the worst employer," Robertson says.


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