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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 won’t 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 Timor’s 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! It’s 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 What’s 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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Fun Guy Spreads Fertiliser

The employer at the centre of a row over AWAs at a Sydney mushroom farm has offered workers a $1000 “gift” in a bid to quell concerns amongst his workers.

Mushroom mum Carmen Walacz Vel Walewska and Imperial Mushrooms boss, Kevin Tolson, are before the industrial umpire as it emerged the lengths to which he will go to bury the issue.

Walacz Vel Walewska has been warmly received in her local community, with hugs from co-workers coming up to her in the street to thank her for taking her stand.

Carmen came to national prominence when she bucked up after being sacked for questioning why her AWA was leaving her worse off than she would be under her award.

"The message here is that bosses should not treat their workers as if they don't know their rights," says Walacz Vel Walewska. "We've all got our own minds."

Walacz Vel Walewska said she was looking forward to the benefits everyone at Imperial Mushrooms would be getting. She also said her co-workers should keep fighting for proper hourly rates and all their entitlements.

Paul Farrow from the Australian Workers Union (AWU) alleges that Tolson told him that a payment of at least $1,000 to workers at the mushroom factory was a "gift".

Farrow revealed that when Imperial mushrooms had been approached to provide wages records the company provided payslips that provided no breakdown of hours per day or overtime.

"People were working from 5 to 50 hours a week,' says Farrow of the incomplete information they were able to glean from the pay packets. "We're going to give them one last chance to do the right thing with the wages records,"

Farrow also said that the AWU would be pursuing other firms in the mushroom industry to ensure they were doing the right thing.

A conciliation before Deputy President Grayson in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission will continue on Wednesday.


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