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Issue No. 293 20 December 2005  

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.


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.


 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


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.

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

 Pension Pinching
 Free to Rat
 Tax Cuts and Cockroaches
 Proportion, Not Distortion
 Corp That!
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Plan to Save Jobs

Unions, employers and state governments will join forces in a bid to save 1100 jobs a week.

The three groups will work towards a manufacturing plan in response to the loss of 1178 jobs a week since the Howard Government came to office.

AMWU National President Julius Roe said manufacturing groups were forced to take the initiative because the Howard Government had ignored the decline of Australian industry.

"For the first time in more than 10 years we have a national tripartite partnership of employers, government and unions to deal with promotion of the manufacturing industry and to produce a plan to defend jobs," Roe said.

The plan, made at the National Manufacturing Summit in December, will seek to capitalise on Australia's strengths in the industry, as well as encourage the development of Australia's skills base.

The Strategic Action Plan is due to be completed by September 2006.

Other summit also agreed to:

o the commitment of the three groups to continue discussion in an ongoing national forum;

o a commitment that state manufacturing ministers will meet at least once a year to oversee the implementation of strategies and to identify areas that need to be addressed; and

o the encouragement of the involvement of the Commonwealth Government in developing the plan.

The summit was optimistic about Australia's ability to compete globally, noting the nation's capacity to manufacture specialist, short-run or niche products.

Although the summit brought together key players from around the country, the Commonwealth Government was a notable absence.

Roe said that while the non-attendance of the Federal Government had let down workers and the Australian economy, it would eventually be forced to respond.

"We want the Federal Government to join the national manufacturing forum; we want them to join in the development of an action plan, and to adopt the outcomes of deliberations."

Roe said the AMWU would continue to work on three levels to ensure jobs in manufacturing were protected. These were negotiating with employers, campaigning to improve policy and to work co-operatively with other interested groups, of which the summit was an example.


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