||Issue No. 294||10 February 2006|
Interview: Court's in Session
Industrial: Whose Choices?
Politics: Peter's Principles
Environment: TINA or Greener?
History: Its Not Just Handshakes and Aprons
International: US Locks out Jose' Bove
Education: No AWA - No Job
Culture: Jesus was a Long-Grass Man
Review: Charlie the Serf
The Locker Room
Belated Merry Whatmas?
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
I Think Therefore I Scam
A Taxing Answer
Leslie John Turner
Newcastle Rails Against Contracts
Members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union have unveiled billboards on Newcastle's main drag to remind MPs the Hunter "makes the best trains in the world right here".
RailCorp, owned by the NSW Government, is considering four bids for a tender to replace its fleet of 498 non-air conditioned carriages.
Short-listed candidates include Hunter Valley manufacturers United Rail Group and EDI, as well as offshore competitors Siemens and Bombardier.
According to the AMWU, sending work offshore puts not only 2000 jobs at risk, but also an important training ground for skills in a skill-starved nation.
AMWU delegate and spray painter at train manufacturer United Group Rail, Ian Saunders, said he was worried for his son's future if opportunities were exported.
"United Group Rail has been here for 100 years and has a family orientation," the 43-year-old said.
"I've got a brother and nephew who work here.
"But it's not just my own family, there are some families with two or three people working here."
Saunders said after four years of not hiring apprentices, United Rail Group was the biggest hirer of apprentices in the Hunter.
He said of the 340 current employees United Group Rail directly employs, 82 were apprentices.
"[NSW Government Minister and Patron of the Newcastle Knights Rugby League Club] Michael Costa has said the Hunter couldn't survive without the Newcastle Knights, we believe with manufacturing it's the same."
Two of the four faces on the billboards are apprentices, one of whose father has been working with United Group Rail for 41 years.
The AMWU has also produced postcards to send to Labor Premier Morris Iemma saying: "Newcastle has always had a strong Labor tradition. Don't put that tradition at risk."
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