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Issue No. 294 10 February 2006  

Total Impact
The long hot summer, the calm before the storm, is finally passed; and as March 1 approaches the new world of work is looming and the extent of the attack on organised labour is becoming clear.


Interview: Court's in Session
As the silks line up to challenge WorkChoices, Jeff Shaw is fighting for his own legacy - the NSW IR system.

Industrial: Whose Choices?
The Howard Government's WorkChoices legislation has been dissected by lawyers and the commentariat; now it's the turn of political economists.

Politics: Peter's Principles
Forget John Howard. The force behind WorkChoices is Peter Costello. The Prime Minister-in-waiting has devoted a lifetime to undermining the security and living standards of Australian families, Jim Marr reports.

Environment: TINA or Greener?
What does the greenhouse effect and legislation to control workers have in common, asks Neale Towart

History: Its Not Just Handshakes and Aprons
Power. They have it, we want it. Friendly societies tried to keep it for working people, writes Neale Towart

International: US Locks out Jose' Bove
The US Government has refused to allow France's most famous farmer Jose Bove into the country to address a conference

Education: No AWA - No Job
The Howard Government has given the Australian community its first view of the future by forcing new staff at Ballarat University to sign an Australian Workplace Agreement if they want a job, writes Jenny Macklin.

Culture: Jesus was a Long-Grass Man
The writings of a Middle Eastern theologian may provide guidance to those grappling with indigenous issues, writes Graham Ring

Review: Charlie the Serf
Nathan Brown takes the sledgehammer (and sickle) to Mr Wonka's Chocolate Factory.


 Capital Punishment on the Menu

 Della Builds Fortress NSW

 Unfair Sackings Face Challenge

 Slave Contractors Sprung

 Holden's Bad Deal for Adelaide

 ACCI Never Sleeps

 STOP PRESS: Guest Worker Plan Goes to Water

 Taking a Punt on Melbourne Cup

 Backlash on Job Cuts

 Howard Coy on Ad Orgy

 Newcastle Rails Against Contracts

 Union Man Eyes Cuts

 Free Enterprise Kills Hundreds

 Aussie Icon Moves to China

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Hitler in Bowral
Political censorship has made its wasy to the sleepy Southern Highlands, wrties Rowan Cahill.

The Locker Room
No Laughing Matter
Phil Doyle tries to take Australian sportspeople seriously, and fails.

The Westie Wing
Ian West is mistakenly sent an advance copy of John Winston Howard’s Little Blue Book of Australian History…

 The Best for the Best
 Belated Merry Whatmas?
 The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
 I Think Therefore I Scam
 A Taxing Answer
 Leslie John Turner
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Holden's Bad Deal for Adelaide

GM Holden has been sprung using cheap Croatian labour at its factory in Adelaide, despite one in five locals being out of work.

Employees stopped work last week to discuss Holden's use of 35 Croatian workers through a German subcontractor.

Unions claim locals were overlooked to perform the work and are concerned the foreign workers are being underpaid and treated poorly.

"Firstly, in a local area that has unemployment of up to 19 per cent in places, how could it be that Holden needed to import these 35 workers from Croatia?" Australian Manufacturing Union national secretary, Doug Cameron, asked.

"Secondly, the union was contacted when one of the workers was threatened with deportation because he was sick and could not attend work."

The subcontractor, Reschka, initially told unions it was paying the workers 12 Euro ($A19.43) an hour, which is below the standard rate of $20 to $25 and does not include allowances.

Reschka later revised its figure to 23 Euro ($A37.20), but the workers confirmed with the AMWU they were being paid 12 Euro.

Holden gave assurances the situation would not occur again, but the AMWU is blaming Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone for allowing the visas in the first place.

"The Immigration Department's own guidelines say that businesses importing labour must be unable to meet their skill needs from within the Australian Labor force," Cameron said.

"However, there was obviously no attempt by the company to find local workers."

AMWU SA secretary John Camillo said car manufacturers had a responsibility to the local community.

"A big concern for us is that, with a high unemployment rate in the northern suburbs and the 1000-plus workers retrenched at Holden (late last year), why haven't these people been given the opportunity to be trained for this work," he said.

The Croatians were brought in to install a paint line in Holden's factory.

A Holden spokesman told Australian Associated Press it had no control over how the foreign workers were hired and did not condone any unfair work practices.


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