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Issue No. 293 20 December 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Waves of Destruction
2005 was the year book-ended by two waves of destruction - the first causing untold suffering across the Indian Ocean; the second reawakening our darker angels on beaches closer to home.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Back to the Future
James Gallaway collars Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, on threats, challenges and opportunities.

Unions: A Real Page Turner
Jim Marr glances through Workers Online’s 2005 news stories and finds there is more one way to skin a Rat

Industrial: The Pin-Striped Union
Rachael Osman-Chin profiles a white collar union that is having some almighty blues.

International: Around The World In 365 Days
It was a year of online activism, as LabourStart's Eric Lee reports

Legends: Terrific, Tommy
Jim Marr tackles a champion.

Your Rights At Work: Worth Fighting For
The Your Rights At Work campaign has been a big part of this year and, as Phil Doyle reports, it is making a difference.

Politics: The Year That Was
Frank Stillwell looks at year that saw the politics of fear; and finds many reasons to be very afraid.

Economics: Master and Servant Revisited
Evan Jones asks if the Neo Liberals are taking us back to the future

Culture: 2005: The Year of Living Repetitively
Nathan Brown ignores Oasis and decides to look back in anger after all

Bad Boss: The Bottom Ten
Nathan Brown digs through his voluminous dirt files and comes up with the top 10 grubs of the year.

Religion: Hymns from a Different Song Sheet
James Gallaway on the Way, the Truth and life according to Brian.

N E W S

 Melbourne Burns AWAs

 Corporates Defend Costello

 Speaker Won't Talk

 Bank Pays on Dodgy Contracts

 Plan to Save Jobs

 Harper's Bizarre Excuse for Failure

 It's Not Fair: Business

 Workers Walk As Warnings Wiped

 Teenager Hit With Shrapnel

 Pay Day “Unlawful”

 Tassie Rail Win

 Professionals Fear for Their Kids

 Boss Pings Rorters Charter

 New Ways to Take a Share

 An Hour of Need

 Boeing Steals Christmas

 Trouble at the Mill

 Activists What's On

C O L U M N S

Predictions
The Crystal Ball
Workers Online consults a raft of leading psychics to find out what readers can look forward to in 2006.

The Soapbox
The Things People Say
It was a year of quotable quotes, reports Phil Doyle.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West checks the rear vision mirror on 2005, and plants his foot down

The Locker Room
The 2005 Workers Online Sports Awards
After years of being overlooked by selectors at club, representative and national levels, Phil Doyle and Jim Marr, agreed to hand out our 2005 sports gongs.

Postcard
Postcard from East Timor
In East Timor entertainment also spreads an important message into the community

L E T T E R S
 Pension Pinching
 Free to Rat
 Tax Cuts and Cockroaches
 Proportion, Not Distortion
 Corp That!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Bank Pays on Dodgy Contracts


The Finance Sector Union is celebrating a major victory against the Commonwealth Bank over its scheme to push employees onto inferior individual contracts.

The CBA has been ordered by the Federal Court to pay a record $750,000 in fines for inducing hundreds of Premium Financial Services employees, who look after some of the Bank's wealthiest clients, to resign from jobs protected by CBA agreements and sign individual contracts with subsidiary CommSec.

These individual contracts gave the Bank the option of paying those employees up to 30 per cent less for doing exactly the same job.

The penalty was also for discriminating against CBA employees who did not wish to be forced onto contracts by closing off career opportunities and for CBA's deliberate failure to consult with FSU.

The fine follows the scheme being declared illegal in early September. The judge hearing the case described the CBA's plan to force hundreds of its employees onto individual contracts as "reminiscent of the tax avoidance schemes of the 1970s."

"We believe the severity of last week's fine, combined with the order to offer employees the opportunity to be reinstated as CBA employees shows management that our members will not tolerate unfair treatment," says FSU assistant national secretary Sharron Caddie.

When handing down the punishment, Justice Merkel said that the bank had been "flagrant and deliberate" in its breach of the law and that the bank had operated "solely in pursuit of its self interest and profit ... without proper regard for the legality of its conduct."

"We hope this experience will prompt the Bank to finally do the right thing and enter into good faith negotiations with the FSU for a proper award to cover all CommSec employees and new collective agreements for EBA staff," says Caddie, adding the fine is 10 times bigger than any penalty handed down by a court for similar offences.


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