||Issue No. 288||04 November 2005|
Interview: Public Defender
Legal: Craig's Story
Unions: Wrong Way, Go Back
Politics: Queue Jumping
History: Iron Heel
Economics: Waging War
International: Under Pressure
Poetry: Billy Negotiates An AWA
Review: A Pertinent Proposition
The Locker Room
Truth in Advertising
What a Woman!
It's Not Pretty
Wal-Mart Sees the Light
As thousands of Wal-Mart employees and former employees head to court over allegations of wage abuse, chief exec Lee Scott says the time has come for Congress to act.
"The US minimum wage of $US5.15 ($A6.80) an hour has not been raised in nearly a decade and we believe it is out of date with the times," Scott said in an address to employees.
"Our customers simply don't have the money to buy basic necessities between pay cheques."
Scott's comments came as a Missouri court gave approval for thousands of Wal-Mart workers to take class action against the company for wage abuse.
Employees claim the company forces them to work without pay and without breaks.
"Based on Wal-Mart's own data, it's abundantly clear they're forcing employees collectively to work many thousands of hours each month without pay," lead trial attorney Steve Long said.
Wal-Mart is notorious for its labour practices and opposition to unions.
Earlier this year the chain was accused of closing a Canadian store because workers joined a union.
Minimum Rates for Hurricane Jobs
Meanwhile a grass roots campaign by unions and community activists in the US has forced president George W. Bush to back down from moves to cut the pay of workers affected by a spate of hurricanes on the country's gulf coast region.
Last week Bush rescinded his executive order that suspended minimum wage protections for workers rebuilding many communities devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Wilma.
The order, which now will expire Nov. 8, allowed contractors to pay substandard wages to construction workers.
activists sent more than 350,000 messages to politicians demanding fair wages be reinstated for the Gulf Coast, where skilled, full-time workers average less than $20,000 a year in pay.
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