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Issue No. 299 17 March 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 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!

C O L U M N S

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

Parliament
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

L E T T E R S
 Revelations of St John
 Save Frost
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Vegie Contracts Poisonous


Queensland electricians are downing tools in a bid to stop someone dying from an electricity company's cost cutting.

Contract employees for Energex held two stop work meetings last week to draw attention to new contracts, which have unqualified workers cutting trees touching live 11,000 volt power lines.

Electrical Trades Union Queensland Deputy Secretary Paul Simpson said these "vegetation contracts" put at risk the lives of workers and the public.

"It's only a matter of time until some poor bastard dies," Simpson said.

Simpson said the Electrical Safety Office and the Queensland Government needed to act immediately.

Audits in the past two days have found dangerous trees in South Brisbane, Capalaba and most recently, outside the West End State School, all of which pose grave dangers to the public.

Simpson said Energex was using the unqualified workers to drive down wages.

"(The contracts do) not allow for industry-standard rates of pay and conditions and encourages unscrupulous employers to undermine long established wages, conditions and safety standards."


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