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Issue No. 281 16 September 2005  

Marked Territory
If the mountain of pre-publicity is indicative of its content, the Latham Diaries will read a little bit like a sausage cookbook; full of grisley details about the makings of something we would rather take on face value.


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.


 Flexibility - Bush Rates Slashed

 Seamen Marooned on Tassie

 Families Win Refuge in Tamworth

 Catholics Nail Andrews' Heresy

 IR Changes a Beach

 Drama Queen Applies Gloss

 Peace a Security Threat

 OEA Flicks Fraud Case

 Auto Workers Drive Union Win

 Bush Adds Insult to Injuries

 Job Vandals Cash In

 Lib Heads Witch Hunt

 Sydney Water Damned

 Super Blue Warms Up

 Activist's 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.

 Dinosaurs Bite Back
 Killer Culture
 Who Cares?
 Do the Bus Stop
 A Touch of Honesty
 Boss Made Me Sick
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Letters to the Editor

Killer Culture

It may seem a little strange that a person who blew the whistle on widespread bullying at his former company (Chubb Security) would have so many opinions on free markets, government regulation, IR reforms and OHS? However, personal experience ties all these things together.

Let me try and put it all together, Mr Rashid, a contractor to Chubb Security who was shot dead at Punchbowl in 2001. Mr Rashid, I believe, was a victim of a culture driven by competition and profit at the expense of employee safety and welfare.

The reason Chubb decided to reduce the traditional armoured service was one of cost and by replacing four man crews with one person using their own vehicle, allowed them to undercut the competition.

A close friend of mine had concerns about taking on the downgraded service (and he was the operations manager for that particular service) but had decided to remain quiet for fear of losing his job. In fact most people at Chubb at the time were aware of the consequences of challenging the decision makers.

The day Mr Rasheed was gunned down, I recall having a conversation with my colleague and the first thing he said to me was '\they are going to try an pin this on me', they knew this was wrong! He was visibly shaken and concerned.

But this known risk to employee safety hadn't started with the shooting death, in fact, since the service downgrade was implemented other officers had been bashed and robbed - and I think it was on exactly the same run Mr Rasheed was on, from memory. All warnings and indicators were conveniently ignored by Chubb.

In hindsight, it was perfectly foreseeable that tragedy was a real possibility. In fact, Chubb were also later prosecuted by WorkCover for other offences that occurred earlier in 2001.

I finally blew the whistle because I was unable to tolerate, what to me, was a mean spirited and profit driven machine which had been hurting too many people, including myself.

This might also help to explain why I am so opposed to proposed industrial reforms - they too could have some very deadly consequences. And a culture of fear and intimidation that exists in many organisations, in my opinion, will be one of the contributing factors that conceal the potential deadly risks associated with corporate competitiveness.

Take away workers rights, increase employer power, ignore critical regulations and bang! People can die! And why? Because free market competitive for profits replace 'duty of care' for the health and welfare of employees and in some cases the public at large.

John McPhilbin



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