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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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Trouble at the Mill

Workers, the local mayor and independent federal MP Peter Andren have called on John Howard to step in and save 50 jobs at a central west NSW flour mill.

The job cuts at the Manildra Flour Mill have been sheeted home to a slow uptake of ethanol, a "biofuel" petrol substitute, under existing government policy, which targets only 1% of fuel consumption.

"All the blurbs encouraging us to use 10% ethanol have a footnote 'where available'," says Andren. "Outlets in city and country are too few and far between."

Andren asked Howard in Parliament, given the job cuts and very slow market uptake of ethanol, would the government reconsider mandating a 10% ethanol level in petrol rather than the current policy.

"Other countries do it, and with the Government's own climate report this week showing our greenhouse gas output continuing to rise steeply, there is a golden opportunity for the government to get serious about our environmental responsibilities by mandating, not just setting voluntary targets, for biofuels," says Andren.

Andren's call has been echoed by Cabonne Shire Mayor, John Farr, who is also seeking Federal Government assistance to save the jobs of one quarter of the Mill's 200-strong workforce.

"The National Union of Workers supports the Mayor's request," says NUW secretary Derrick Belan. "The job cuts at the Manildra Flour Mill can be attributed to the downturn of the ethanol market.

"The loss of these jobs is devastating for the workers involved and their families.

"Unfortunately, the Howard government has done little to promote the use of ethanol fuel blends.

"The redundancies at the Manildra Mill reach much further than the direct impact they will have on the workers. There is a broader issue of support for the use of environmentally friendly fuels sources, as well as Federal Government support for rural communities, given that the Manildra Mill sustains a rural community that has few other job opportunities.

"John Howard said he was 'sorry' about the job losses. Well 'sorry' does not put food on the table of these workers. The Prime Minister must act to help this plant and this community instead of simply expressing regret for the situation in Parliament."

Belan suggested the Federal Government look towards requiring all Commonwealth vehicles to utilise ethanol fuel mix.


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