||Issue No. 289||11 November 2005|
The Great Repression
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
We're Just Serfin'
To the Shredder
Boycott Hangs Over Hardie
AMWU assistant secretary, Tim Ayres, delivered the ultimatum as the former industrial blue chip announced a half-year net profit of $141 million, last week.
"If this is not settled, and James Hardie walks away from negotiations, there will be an unrelenting community campaign," Ayres promised.
Unions drove James Hardie to the negotiating table after it misled the Supreme Court and asbestos victims to relocate to the Netherlands in a bid to evade compensation owed to Australian sufferers of asbestos-related diseases.
Sixteen months ago, its chair Meredith Hellicar, announced an agreement with the ACTU and NSW Government that would see it pay billions of dollars from profits, over coming decades, to people whose lives had been wrecked by contact with its products.
Trade unions lifted boycotts and bans but, James Hardie is still to formalise the arrangement.
Workers Online understands it is wrangling with the state government in an effort to have taxpayers subsidise its commitments.
Concerns have been deepened by reports that some US-based directors want to cut and run to Delaware where rogue companies face a minimalist regulatory regime.
About 40 trade unionists and asbestos disease sufferers rallied outside the profit announcement venue in Sydney.
Asbestos Disease Foundation of Australia representative, Barry Robson, said members had died while the company dragged out final negotiations.
"We don't mind them making a profit but we want them to put some of it into that fund for victims," Robson said.
"James Hardie keep hoping we will go away and the victims will disappear. I am here to say, that is not going to happen."
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