||Issue No. 291||25 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
Name and Shame
Unite and Fight
The Worker's Best Friend
Stop the Corporate Rot
Iemma Drives Hardie Bargain
A spokesman for Premier Morris Iemma said laws concerning compensation would be introduced this week.
But he said the nature would vary depending on a voluntary agreement from Hardies.
NSW Premier Morris Iemma gave Hardies a deadline of the end of last week for a compensation deal.
"Our conclusion is that if we can't reach an agreement we'll legislate to provide justice to the victims," he said.
But James Hardie has refused to commit to a deadline.
"We're not going to work to a detrimental deadline that may have been set arbitrarily, which is unnecessary while both sides are continuing to make progress," spokesman James Rickards told the ABC.
The chorus of groups calling for Hardies to finalise compensation is growing, with a Canadian union warning the company faces a ban in North America ahead of the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
"There's $86 billion dollars worth of work coming up in the next six years and if they're interested in any of it they'd better compensate the victims," Canadian construction union chief Wayne Peppard said.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union NSW Secretary Paul Bastion said the deadline for a commitment by Hardies was long overdue.
Bastion called on Hardies to sign a compensation agreement immediately and appoint an asbestosis sufferer to its board.
Asbestosis campaigner and sufferer Bernie Banton said at a protest last week the company had shown contempt for its victims.
"They haven't brought one cent to the table yet and it's time for Hardies to cough up," he said.
Victims are still yet to see any money despite Hardies' chairwoman Meredith Hellicar agreeing 16 months ago to pay billions of dollars in compensation over the coming decades.
James Hardie knowingly exposed workers to asbestos-containing products until the mid-1980s.
Up to 18,000 Australians are expected to die from asbestos-related diseases by 2020.
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