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Issue No. 285 14 October 2005  

Howard’s Secret War
There are two wars being waged against Australian workers right now.


Interview: Under Fire
Michael Crosby outlines his agenda to save the movement – and explains why Australians have nothing to fear from the SEIU.

Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Wal King, Allan Moss, Roger Corbett, Chip Goodyear, Michael Chaney and David Murray have lots in common, writes Jim Marr.

Industrial: Un-Australian
Labour lawyer Clive Thompson argues the changes to IR are fundamentally at odds with the national tradition of consesensus.

Economics: The Common Wealth
As the policy wonks debate the future of our cities, Neale Towart mounts a simple argument: It’s the real people in a society, stupid

History: Walking for Justice
The Eight Hour Day, a very Australian celebration, had its origins in New Zealand it seems, writes Neale Towart.

International: Deja Vu
A group of trade unions have walked away from America's peak council, again. Labourstart's Eric Lee was there.

Legal: The Rights Stuff
Terror laws have sparked a fresh debate on a Bill of Rights - and workers have a bigger stake than ever before, writes Rachael Osman-Chin.

Review: That Cinderella Fella
Russell trades the phone for mitts in an inspiring cinematic slug-fest. Nathan Brown is ringside

Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
Mel Cheal asks who Howard thinks he is kidding to the tune of the ‘Dad’s Army’ theme song.


 Call Centre Dials Up Future

 Greenfields Become Cotton Fields

 PM Endorses Billy Boy Tactics

 Stats Go Missing

 Paper Tiger in Protection Racket

 Thugs Are Go!

 Usual Suspects Bite Employers

 Pay Boss Opposed Living Wage

 Tele Enlists Boss’ Family

 Entitlements Go AWAy

 State Employees in Limbo

 Activist’s What’s On!


The Soapbox
No Place For A Woman!
Doreen Borrow spoke to the Public Service Association’s women’s conference in September about her experiences of working life that span seven decades.

North By Northwest
Phil Doyle returns from up north, where he survived on nothing but goodwill, good people and a great big orange bus.

The Locker Room
In which Whatsisname slams the recent poor form of Thingummyjig.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West MLC, gets all casual in his latest missive from the Bear Pit.

 JWH's Inspiration
 Hooray for Robots
 Government's Dream
 Come Clean
 Good Guy Done Bad
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Call Centre Dials Up Future

The entire workforce of one of the Howard Government's WorkChoice hotlines has learned first-hand about the future of job security, after being told not to turn up to work next week.

About 50 labour hire workers at the Artarmon call centre, employed on one-week contracts, received the news, last Friday, after getting only a 'handful of calls during the week.

The Sydney centre, established for overflow calls had not received the traffic anticipated, despite the wall of advertising promoting the number.

It is unknown whether the other two centres in Canberra and Melbourne will continue to operate.

The lay-offs follow a week of confusion where the majority of callers were told to wait until the legislation came out.

Workers Online called with enquiries about unfair dismissal, penalty rates and unlawful dismissal under the new changes and in all instances was referred to the award inquiry service WageLine.

WageLine could not answer questions about the proposed reforms.

"We can only give advice on current federal awards," the hotline said.

Operators at WorkChoices admitted they did not have enough detail to handle enquiries.

"At this stage we don't have too much information; it's still going through Parliament," one WorkChoices operator said.

The response from other operators was that the reforms were "just proposed" and wouldn't be coming through for six months.

The government has set up three call centres to deal with questions as part of its $100 million tax-payer funded spend to sell its unpopular changes.

Workers Online understands WorkChoice operators are given scripted answers to questions and cannot answer any further questions.

Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said despite appearances, the Government continued to dodge people's genuine questions about the reforms.

"What were seeing here is the government spending money that isn't theirs on call centres and ads that provide no real information on their changes," Robertson said.

"It's about time they came clean and told working people that these laws are simply the agenda of big business."


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