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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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Bing Lee Peddles Rubbish

A worker sacked by retail giant Bing Lee for putting rubbish in a dumpster has been reinstated with back pay in a ruling by the stateís industrial umpire.

Miguel Reyes, who had worked at the Villawood Warehouse for four years, was hurriedly sent packing soon after joining the National Union Of Workers.

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) found Bing Lee acted "harshly, unreasonably and unjustly" in dismissing Reyes.

The company issued Reyes with three warnings over a six-week period, including one for not supervising the loading of a truck, even though that wasn't part of his job.

Bing Lee finally sacked Mr. Reyes, branding him "untrustworthy".

"Without the Union I would not have gotten justice or my job back,' said a delighted Reyes after the decision. "Thank God for the union!"

National Union of Workers spokesperson Mark Ptolemy slammed Bing lee's actions as a "disgraceful" way to treat a loyal employee.

"Mr. Reyes worked hard and loyally for Bing Lee and soon after joining the union they turned on him," says Ptolemy. "Company boss Ken Lee talks a lot about his team on his radio ads yet the reality is much different."

IRC Commission McKenna found that the union had a valid case in claiming Mr. Reyes was unjustly sacked. The Commission ordered Mr. Reyes be reinstated with back pay.

"This is a great victory for a working man and for all workers", says NUW State Secretary Derrick Belan. "Miguel was treated appallingly by this company. This case illustrates the effectiveness of the NSW IR system. A worker treated unjustly found justice and got his job back. With the Howard proposed IR changes this system will disappear and workers like Miguel will be left vulnerable".


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