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Issue No. 283 30 September 2005  

Revenge of the Footy Dads
The release of the second wave of ACTU TV advertising last weekend continues to take the debate around industrial relations into the broader community – and specifically the nation’s footy grounds.


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.


 Brazilians Score at Rocky

 PM Discounts Fair Go

 Centrelink Crashes Internet

 On Yer Bikes

 Road Toll Off The Rails

 Part-Timers in Bank Heist

 It’s Eight Against Eight

 OEA Says Plaque You

 Kez and Rupe Tighten Grip

 Feds Get Blank Cheque

 Rev Kev Absolves Killers

 Turning Business Upside Down

 Stink Over CountryLink Shrink

 Nurses Brush Sick Offer

 Men Make Permanent Choice

 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.

 Four Cornered Rat
 Hrowad’s Meixd Msesgaes
 Caveat Emptor
 Shop Front
 Petrol Price of War
 Unionist Slain
 Last Long Weekend
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Brazilians Score at Rocky

A team of skilled Brazilian meatworkers has destroyed the myth that guest workers undermine local wages and conditions.

The 98 South Americans have been welcomed into the North Queensland community and labelled a “success story” by local trade unionists.

Lakes Creek imported the workers on two and four-year visas but Queensland Meatworkers Union official, Lee Norris, has no doubt they will become "a permanent feature of the landscape".

"The union movement needs to recognise skills shortages, where they exist, and to rally around and draw these people into our family," Norris said.

"When there are qualified local people around we will go into bat for their right to work in the industry but when those skills aren't available we welcome others with open arms."

Norris says unions should draw a distinction between the poor training and vocational policies of the federal government, and working people brought in to cover the resulting vacancies.

The Brazilians came to Rockhampton when it became clear that the reopened Lakes Creek faced a chronic shortage of butchers, slicers and other skilled trades.

There were arguments between the company and the union as the parties sorted out ground rules at the greenfields site.

Time and again, the Meatworkers Union approached management with lists of locals looking for work and, gradually, with the aid of the Industrial Relations Commission, those issues were resolved.

Norris says that shouldn't impact on the Brazilians, every one of whom has joined the union and is being paid the negotiated rate for the job.

And, he says, they haven't just joined but have brought a strong collective culture from their homeland. In response, a Meatworkers' official has started learning basic Portuguese.

"They aren't just trade unionists, they are strong trade unionists," Norris says.

"They are enjoying life, fitting in, and contributing to Australia. They are a success story."

Kerry Packer's Consolidated Meat Group owned Lakes Creek but that entity shut its gates in July, 2002, throwing hundreds of North Queenslanders out of work.

The facility reopened, two years later, after a merger between Consolidated and Teys Brothers.

The Meatworkers Union engaged in long-running battles to ensure former employees were offered work. Today, the plant employs more than 500 people.


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