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Issue No. 282 23 September 2005  

Highway To Help
After five weeks, five and half thousand kilometres, and 40 regional town meetings attended by thousands of regional workers, the bright orange Rights at Work bus has finally come to rest.


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.


 AWA Threat - Soy You Later

 'Drama Queen' Court Out ... Again

 Work Law Refugee Turns On Howard

 Police Force Choice

 Low Blow in Ňd Wars

 Free Lunches to Cost Wal-Mart

 Robbo in Swan Song

 Howard Mines Pockets

 Star Chamber Faces Eclipse

 Mums Teach School a Lesson

 Sleepless In Seattle

 Safety Blitz After Accident

 Mushroom Mum Gets Satisfaction

 Builders Skirt Apprentice Claim

 Howard Threatens Wage Umpire

 Gunns Trained on Free Speech

 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.

 Fair Play
 Latham Lament
 Missed the Mark
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AWA Threat - Soy You Later

A Japanese woman was threatened with deportation if she didn't sign an AWA that stripped her of a dozen safety-net conditions, a Sydney court has heard.

Sachie Murata told the Industrial Magistrate's Court she didn't even know she had been employed under an AWA until informed by her solicitor, 18 months after the document was rubber stamped by the Office of the Employment Advocate.

Murata said, Dion Woo, operator of Soy Franchise at Sydney Airport, had forced all staff to sign unread documents at the end of 2002.

"I did not want to lose my job as Mr Woo had on previous occasions said that if I lose my job with Soy Franchise I would lose my visa and have to leave Australia," Murata said.

"Mr Woo did not explain the contents of the document to either myself or any other members of staff and he did not let me read it so that I could understand it before signing."

Murata said she managed Woo's airport franchise on $15 an hour. She did not qualify for overtime until she had worked more than 50 hours a week and received no extra payments for Saturday or Sunday work.

She testified that her relationship with her employer soured after she met an Australian man who she later married.

Once, she said, when she had tried to negotiate holiday payments, Woo responded: "Ever since you met Al you have been asking too many questions. Stop asking too many questions, you know I can just cancel your visa and you'll never see me again."

Murata's counsel said the Office of the Employment Advocate had okayed Soy Franchise AWAs, although they were "grossly inferior" to award entitlements.

"The evidence will show how weak are the protections for those who become parties to AWAs and how feebly those protections are enforced by the OEA," he said.

He said the failure of the OEA to do its job had left his client "even more vulnerable to the duress applied".

Counsel said, should penalty be imposed, "the Employment Advocate should be asked to make submissions as to appropriate penalty and as to their power, or the power of this court, to withdraw or revoke approval of the AWA."

Soy Franchises denies that it applied any duress to Murata. It says she was aware of the terms contained in the AWA and signed of her own free will.

The case is continuing.


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