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Issue No. 299 17 March 2006  

For Queen and Country
There’s nothing like a Commonwealth Games – and one on home turf to boot – to get one thinking about Australia’s relationship with Britain and the monarch who still reigns over us.


Interview: Organising In Cyberspace
Workers Online speaks to the ACTU's Union Organiser of the Year, Greg Harvey from the RTBU, who has been using cutting edge ways to communicate with a blue-collar workforce spread across five states.

Industrial: How Low Is Low
Neale Towart looks at the much hyped link between minimum wages and employment

Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
The Howard Govwernment has begun rolling out workshops to inform employers on how to use WorkChoices. Sean Ambrose sneaked through the doors for Workers Online.

Unions: Bad Medicine
Nathan Brown reports on how Australia Post’s dodgy Faculty Nominated Doctor system is leaving sick workers feeling worse.

History: Right Turn, Clyde
Bob Gould believes news of Clyde Cameron’s demise may be premature

Economics: Long Division
Kenneth Davidson looks at a successful political strategy

International: Union Proud
A University of California librarian calls for union labels to increase worker visibility

Politics: Howard’s Sick Joke
Phil Doyle looks at an attack on one of the great achievements of the union movement

Indigenous: The year of living dangerously
That mob in parliament house seems to be hopelessly out of touch with Indigenous Australia. So much so, that Graham Ring wonders if the House on the Hill is becoming a ‘cultural museum’.

Review: Lights, Camera, Strike!
Mandrake the Electrician has been down to the video store over the summer and rounded up the Top Ten Union Movies of all time.

Culture: News Front
If the owners are selling off papers, perhaps the unions should buy them says Mark Dobbie.


 Fleas Bite Back

 Visa Boss Restrained

 Howard's Holiday Secrets

 Picket Buster Carpeted

 No Ticket No Start For Asbestos

 On The Road Again

 WorkChoices Goes Mental

 United Cuts Hit Turbulence

 Bad News for Bullies

 Vegie Contracts Poisonous

 Mac Attack

 Work Choices Canned

 Work Pressure Kills: Judge

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Australian Fascism
Rowan Cahill critiques Gerard Henderson’s unique take on history

Westie Wing
Will Westie's Wings be clipped, or will the Hills Angels repent and deliver?

The Locker Room
The Heart Of The Matter
Phil Doyle rolls up the red carpet and celebrates the death of an old foe

 Revelations of St John
 Save Frost
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No Ticket No Start For Asbestos

Local rail workers have blown the whistle on asbestos exposure at suburban Sydney rail stations, prompting RailCorp to pull the pin on contractors whose work saw the deadly dust blown around ticket offices.

“It was only because of the good work of local rail workers on their OH&S committee that this contamination was identified and now is finally being dealt with,” says NSW Rail Tram and Bus Union secretary Nick Lewocki.

WorkCover is now conducting an asbestos audit of RailCorp facilities after a second railway station booking office, in as many weeks, has been found to contain asbestos during maintenance works.

Edgecliff booking office was closed this week, while Eastwood booking office was closed last Friday. Since then the ceiling, containing asbestos, collapsed this week.

The RTBU is calling on the NSW Government to immediately take action to guarantee rail workers are not being unwittingly subjected to asbestos poisoning across its City Rail network.

The RTBU is awaiting the release of RailCorp's asbestos register that should detail the extent of asbestos throughout the system.

"The RTBU wants the Government to establish and Occupational Health and Safety Oversight Committee to implement the recommendation to come out of the WorkCover audit," says Lewocki. "The NSW Government must act immediately to guarantee the safety of rail workers and the public.

"The RTBU is calling on the Government to instruct WorkCover NSW to conduct an audit of all City Rail Stations and work locations to identify any potential hazards associated with asbestos.

"This is further evidence that management has taken their eye off the ball in relation to providing not only a safe work environment for rail workers but also a safe transport system for the NSW public."


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