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Issue No. 296 24 February 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Sad Sacks
It has been a sad spectacle watching a Labor Government run down public servants, as they have in NSW this week.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 Taskforce Shrugs Bashed Teen Worker

 Abattoir Blues

 Car Plant Puts Pedal to Metal

 Call Me Now: Rev Kev

 Fat Boss Sings

 Unions Back After This Break

 Public Cuts Must Be Last

 Apprentices Grow Up

 ‘Castle Win Keeps Trains On Track

 Chicken Worker Stuffed

 ‘Revolving Gangplank' at Sydney Ferries

 NSW Councils Short $21 billion

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

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.

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

L E T T E R S
 Lest We Forget
 For Whom the Toll Bells
 Unfinished Business
 Labor Sells Hydro
 Stop the Hordes
 Packer Whacker
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Apprentices Grow Up


Apprentices in the metal industry will take home up to $50 a week more, as the AMWU moves to address Australia’s skills shortage in the face of Howard Government inaction.

In a decision which moves toward bringing apprentice wages into line with reality, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission has granted metal industry apprentices an increase of $50 a week if they have completed Year 12.

Apprentices who have completed Year 11 get an extra $30 per week.

"The days of apprentices leaving school at 15 were over a long time ago. Unfortunately, this was not recognised in apprentice wages, and the low wages for apprentices were contributing to skills shortage." AMWU National President Julius Roe said.

"It is a terrific thing that something we have argued for so long has finally been accepted."

The Metal Industry Award covers more apprentices than any other award in the country so this win will have a big impact on the attractiveness of apprenticeships.

"This approach contrasts with the Howard Government "solutions" to the skills shortage which amount to dumbing down and splitting up the trades qualifications and a massive increase in exploited imported guest labour," Roe said.

Roe said though the new arrangements would survive for sometime into the era of WorkChoices, the Government's reforms would hinder the future development of skills.

"A return to the old rates would only further exacerbate the skills shortage, and be unfair to deserving apprentices."

The wage rises will take affect from the first pay period after March 6.


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