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Issue No. 291 25 November 2005  

International Relations
Globalisation drags up all sorts of contradictions, none the least the attitude of nation states to international law, as show by events in Australia this week.


Interview: Public Defender
The CPSU's Stephen Jones has confronted the Howard Government's IR agenda at close quarters.

Legal: Craig's Story
An inquest in western NSW is a cautionary tale of the use of AWAs, writes Ian Latham

Unions: Wrong Way, Go Back
The WorkChoice legislation sends Australia down the wrong economic road by smashing the instittutions that have made it strong, argues Greg Combet.

Industrial: WhatChoice?
The Howard Government has shown itself to be the master of illusion, writes Dr Anthony Forsyth

Politics: Queue Jumping
The changes to industrial laws, betray a new vision of Australian society, writes James Gallaway.

History: Iron Heel
Conservative governments using laws to take away basic civil rights. It's nothing new, writes Rowan Cahill

Economics: Waging War
When was the last time you heard an Australian politician talk about incomes policy, asks Matt Thistlethwaite

International: Under Pressure
The push for UN intervention in Burma is intensifying, following a report by Vaclav Havel and Bishop Desmond Tutu into slave labour.

Poetry: Billy Negotiates An AWA
More and more people are meeting Billy, the hero of page 15 of the WorkChoices booklet, including our resident bard, David Peetz

Review: A Pertinent Proposition
Nick Cave's "Australian western" touches on some themes still relevant today, Julianne Taverner writes.


 Senators Back Rorters' Charter

 Families Last in WorkChoices

 Howard Loses Poll Position

 Printers Stamp on Low Paid

 Tough Men Back CFMEU

 Kiwis Fly into Starbucks

 Vale John Ducker

 Iemma Drives Hardie Bargain

 Memberships on the increase

 Uni Union Shown The Door

 In a Flap Over Flu

 Job Cuts Threaten CBA's Bottom Line

 Blackouts as Bosses Cut Deep

 Barnaby's Choice

 Wal-Mart Exposed

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Men and Women of Australia
What makes a perfect speech? Michael Fullilove has scoured Australian history to find out.

The Locker Room
The Hungry Years
Phil Doyle gets the feeling we’ve been here before

From Little Things
Paul Kelly's song about the battle for land rights misses one important character, writes Graham Ring

The Westie Wing
Ian West takes a look at Public Private Partnerships, and wonders if we should all just drink rum…

 Demonise the Laws
 Name and Shame
 Unite and Fight
 The Worker's Best Friend
 What Choices?
 Stop the Corporate Rot
 The Telemarketeers
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Blackouts as Bosses Cut Deep

Budget cuts to maintenance at Delta Electricity power generators could lead to blackouts and power outages this summer.

Power generation workers are furious at moves by Delta to follow the Victorian path and outsource maintenance at power stations in Lake Macquarie and west of Lithgow.

Since outsourcing, which accompanied privatisation, in the Victorian power generation sector, blackouts and brownouts (power surges) have become a feature of Melbourne's power supply during peak demand in summer.

Delta has just revealed that they are planning an "alliance" project with a private operator for maintenance, a move that has been labelled "backdoor privatisation" by workers. Delta CEO Jim Hennes poured fuel onto the flames when, in an article in the Lithgow Mercury, he claimed maintenance workers only worked 20 weeks in the year.

"We're very aware of the federal government system," says Les McAllister from Vales Point power station. "The company we work for is pre-empting some of that IR system.

"People are of little consequence to them. Money is the big thing."

The news comes as workers have been bristling at management pressure on staff to move to a nineteen-day month, something workers at a mass meeting in November claimed stemmed from Delta's "ideological" opposition to the existing nine-day fortnight.

"Their own surveys show that trust and morale are low and getting worse," says Matthew Winn from Vales Point.

The matter came to a head in early November when workers walked off the job, which lead to a mass meeting of Delta employees at Penrith last week.

"We have a good job but a bad employer," said one speaker at the Delta meeting.

Delta is a NSW state government owned enterprise, and senior management claimed in meetings with ministerial staff that unions had ticked off on the "alliance" proposal, a claim unions firmly rejected.

Unions are currently moving in the state industrial relations system to guarantee the nine-day fortnight.


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