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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

Workers Walk As Warnings Wiped


A walkout by Wollongong steelworkers has seen written warnings for attending the November 15 day of action withdrawn, while warehouse workers have shrugged off similar threats.

About 50 workers stopped work at BlueScope's Springhill operation after finding out they had been singled out; being sent letters saying the company was "extremely disappointed" with attendance at the protests against the Government's workplace changes.

The letter warned any further "unauthorised absences" would result in disciplinary action.

BlueScope went to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, where Commissioner McKenner directed the company to take back the letters and remove references to them in employees' files.

"They were just trying to say we will decide what you can do and what you can't do," says AMWU Wollongong organiser Brad Hattenfels. "The workers thought the letter was an attack on them and the thing is they didn't take the whole day off, not all workers stopped, production didn't stop and they didn't lose any money."

"The 50 employees that took the action saved the 500 strong workforce at Springhill from receiving these letters."

Meanwhile workers from John Danks and Son in Sydney welcomed a recommendation by the NSW IRC that they should not receive written warnings for attending the November 15 rallies.

They were given the warnings two weeks after attending the National Protest that saw over 500,000 people across Australia protest against the Howard government's WorkChoices legislation.

National Union of Workers secretary Derrick Belan said he was proud that the workers at Danks and Son decided to walk with tens of thousands of other workers in Sydney on November 15.

"In a time where the Federal Government is determined to take away the rights of ordinary citizens, workers like those at Danks and Son exercised their democratic right to protest on November 15.

"The recommendation also illustrates just how well the NSW Industrial Relations Commission works.

"I just hope that the now-removed warnings issued to our members at Danks and Son is not a sign of things to come under John Howard's new workplace landscape."


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