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Issue No. 286 21 October 2005  

Lord of the Lobster Legs
It was probably only shame that prompted the Prime Minister to drag himself away from a $250 per head fundraiser to meet with a group of emergency workers in Wollongong this week. But, this in itself may be a development.


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.


 Family Grieves an Enterprise Worker

 All Quiet in Dandenong

 Hotline Gets Wires Crossed

 High Flyer Crashes Families

 Bolt Strikes Lecturer

 Good Heavens - Della Plays Santa

 Maori Take Challenge to Canberra

 Drips Fail Water Test

 Hardie Shuts the Door

 Hadgkiss Threatens Protesters

 Army Fires Salvo

 The Munro Doctrine

 IR Sparks Emergency Call

 Tassie Jobs Hit By Truck

 Canberra Coy on Promised Statements

 Inquiry to Speak No Evil

 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.

 Sacking For Dummies
 DIY Tool
 Thus Spake Sydney Uni
 Morgan’s Way
 Vote 1 Dictator
 Howard’s Choice
 Buying peace Of Mind
 Coolies Bullish
 Unfair ads
 Rev Kev Speaks
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Family Grieves an Enterprise Worker

Craig McLeod was John Howard's “enterprise” worker. The experienced tradesman negotiated his own contract but, within months, it had cost him $17,000 and his life.

The Coroner's Court, sitting at Griffith, has been hearing evidence about the 2002 Lake Cargellico water tower collapse that cost the 34-year-old boilermaker his life.

"I know he wasn't happy with the way things were going. On the Friday before the accident, Craig rang home, but he wouldn't tell me too much because he knew I would worry," his mother, Joan, told Workers Online from Griffith.

"He did say he had too much to lose to pack up and come home.

"After he died, the union recovered what he was owed."

The principal contractor accepted a CFMEU claim that McLeod had been dudded $17,000 in his few months at Lake Cargellico. The money has been paid to his estate.

The amount - covering wages, allowances and super - was based on award minimums, rather than enterprise bargaining rates that apply on most unionised sites.

Family lawyer, Ian Latham, said evidence tendered to the inquest showed McLeod had been working at least 50 hours a week for an all-in hourly rate of $25.

A skilled tradesman, he had travelled from his home at Port Pirie, South Australia, to central NSW to get work.

He didn't get overtime, weekend payments, super, leave or expenses in an arrangement remarkably similar to that being promoted by the federal government's Office of the Employment Advocate.

Often, according to evidence, he didn't get paid at all.

"He was concerned that the site was unsafe but he couldn't leave," Latham told Workers Online. "Effectively, he was stuck there until the job finished and his employer paid up but, before that happened, they were both dead.

"From the evidence, it seems, he sold himself into slavery."

CFMEU secretary, Andrew Ferguson, described the case as "distressing".

"Our thoughts are with Craig's family," he said. "Money doesn't seem very important when you have a lost a son or a brother.

"The evidence highlights the dangers we face when people are left to their own devices without any support, monitoring or regulation."

The inquest is continuing.


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