The Official Organ of LaborNET
click here to view the latest edition of Workers Online
The Official Organ of LaborNET
Free home delivery
Issue No. 280 09 September 2005  

The Perfect Storm
The mayhem and misery engulfing New Orleans and its surrounds is more than a human tragedy of mammoth proportions, it is the product of a convergence of events that could shift our worldview every bit as much as the attacks on September 11, 2001.


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.


 Telstra Cuts Off Sick Mum

 CFMEU Pulls $3M Bank Job

 Life Imitates Ad

 Equal Pay Unlawful

 AWA Threatens Kids

 Howard’s Porky Exposed

 STOP PRESS: Bank Pinged

 Thongs Flap Into IR War

 Dad Sacked Over Safety Fears

 News Leader in Advertising Stink

 PM’s Spin Hit for Six

 Daffy Ducks Dud Deal

 Canada Shamed

 Combet Stars At Rooty Hill

 Vanstone Backs Ciggie Salaries for Detainees

 Flicking the Super Switch

 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.

 Telstra Trauma
 Telstra’s Calling
 What Poor People?
 The Day
About Workers Online
Latest Issue
Print Latest Issue
Previous Issues
Advanced Search

other LaborNET sites

Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
Evatt Foundation

Labor for Refugees



STOP PRESS: Bank Pinged

The Commonwealth Bank tried to employ staff on individual contracts, using a device the Federal Court has likened to the 'tax avoidance schemes of the 1970s'.

The Finance Sector Union has won a Federal Court judgment to stop the Commonwealth Bank from transferring employees into a different company to be employed on individual contracts.

In his ruling, Justice Merkel described as "essentially an industrial regulation avoidance scheme, (which) possesses an ingenuity that is reminiscent of the tax avoidance schemes of the 1970s".

The dispute arose out of a decision by the CBA in May 2002 to establish CommSec as the future employer of employees to be employed under individual contracts in the Premium Financial Services division of the bank.

The move would have forced several hundred employees to resign and accept new positions with substandard conditions, according to FSU national Assistant Secretary Sharon Caddie.

"The bank was attempting to alter job parameters, and reduce conditions, for hundreds of staff in a dodgy sleight of hand," she said.

In a decision handed down this afternoon in the Federal Court, Justice Merkel found that the FSU had made out its claim that the bank discriminated against its employees by making it a condition that they resign from the Commonwealth Bank to take up positions in the Premium Banking division.

He also found that the failure to consult with the FSU about that decision breached its obligations under the certified agreement. He also found that the agreement the bank made with its call centre staff, intended to cover its managers, was invalid and that ComSec appeared to have misled the AIRC when it applied for the agreement to be certified.

Ms Caddie said the decision should send a clear message to employers that the rights of union member employees would be protected by the courts.

"The bank tried to force its employees onto individual agreements with no clear limits on hours of work, reduce their leave, and retrenchment entitlements and allowed the bank to reassign employees to other roles within its related companies," she said.

Anne Gooley, Industrial Principal at Maurice Blackburn Cashman, said the decision was a victory for union members. "The court has found that the use of a wholly owned subsidiary to employee labour to avoid award and agreement relations was not on," she said.

"The judge found that CommSec mislead the AIRC when it applied to certify its new agreement with these employees," she said.

The court will reconvene on 14 October for a penalty hearing.


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 280 contents

email workers to a friend printer-friendly version latest breaking news from labornet

Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue

© 1999-2002 Workers Online
Workers Online is a resource for the Labour movement
provided by the Labor Council of NSW
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005

Powered by APT Solutions
Labor Council of NSW Workers Online