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Issue No. 295 17 February 2006  

Please Explain
It may become the defining irony of the Howard Era that a government that rode to power on the skirt of One Nation and hung there on the bridge of the Tampa is now opening our borders to hordes of low paid guest workers.


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.


 Local Jockey Odds Shorten

 Conscience II - RU4 Aussie Jobs?

 Online Porkies Spark Class Action

 Captain Cook Discovers WorkChoices

 Skippy's Escape Breaks Law

 PM's Pay Day

 STOP PRESS - 262 Day Strike Set To Finish

 Strike Sticks it to Glue Boss

 Fair Pay Chief Wages War

 Millionaires Score Tax Break

 Memo Costa: Remember Your Roots

 Gate Crashing Gourmet

 Australia Mum On Basic Rights

 Filipinos Pay for Packed House

 Son of Wal-Mart Pinged $2M

 Trust Me, I’m a Unionist

 Activist's Whats 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…

 AWB Kickbacks to Iraq
 The Black GST
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STOP PRESS - 262 Day Strike Set To Finish

Australia’s longest running industrial dispute could be over by Monday after the NSW Industrial Relations Commission ruled it could intervene on behalf of Boeing workers’ right to negotiate collectively.

The Australian Workers Union National Secretary Bill Shorten has welcomed the release of the report of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission inquiry into the 262 day strike by Boeing employees who maintain the Airforce‚s F/A-18 Hornet jets at the Williamtown RAAF base near Newcastle.

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission Full Bench today found that it has jurisdiction to resolve the dispute and recommended an immediate arbitration and that the workforce return to work whilst it is arbitrating the matter.

The AWU will recommend to the striking Boeing workers that they return to work on Monday morning and will be supporting the application to arbitrate the dispute immediately. The AWU will also cease all actions in the Federal Commission.

AWU National Secretary Bill Shorten said he was pleased that the NSW Commission found in favour of the Union's and NSW Government's claims and appealed to Boeing to abide by the independent umpire's decision.

"The NSW Industrial Relations Commission has found in the favour of the AWU and the NSW Government and we thank them for that - now it is time for Boeing to get serious and sit down at the bar table and negotiate a solution to this dispute that is fair and reasonable for all parties involved.

"These workers were not asking the world of Boeing, they were only seeking to get a fair day‚s pay for a fair day‚s work and the fact that the Commission found in their favour is testament to the fact that their claims were not unreasonable," Shorten says.

AWU Newcastle Branch Secretary Kevin Maher thanked the NSW Government and in particular Industrial Relations Minister John Della Bosca for their assistance on this matter and said that meetings will be taking place with the Boeing workers immediately.

„We will be conducting mass meetings of the Boeing workers immediately and are recommending that they will be returning to work on Monday whilst the matter is arbitrated‰ Mr. Maher said.

The Boeing Dispute in Newcastle arose in February 2005 when Boeing management initially refused to negotiate with their workforce on their employment conditions. Since that time the AWU representing the workers have before the Federal Industrial Relations Commission three times where the Commission was unable to resolve the dispute due to John Howard‚s unfair Industrial Relations laws.

The NSW Government referred the dispute to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission after NSW Commerce Minister John Della Bosca became concerned that Boeing did not intend to negotiate with their workers or seek to resolve the dispute.

The 25 workers and their families have been on strike without pay since 1 June 2005 when they were initially locked-out after taking legal industrial action by refusing to fill in their time sheets.

Evidence before the Inquiry indicated that AWU members were being paid up to $15,000 less per annum than comparable workers in the Australian aviation industry including other Boeing workers in Australia.


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