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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

Work Choices Canned


A major Northern Territory employer has brushed Work Choices to rush a multi-union agreement, covering 500 workers, before the Industrial Relations Commission.

Alcan Alumium joined several unions in seeking registration of a three-year document that provides annual five percent wage increases and rolls over all existing conditions.

"It (Alcan) enabled us to get the document in front of the Commission the day after we finished negotiating," AMWU Territory organiser, Jamie Robertson, reported. "A lot of families will have their living standards protected for another three years.

"Alcan wasn't interested in playing politics, it just wanted to get on with the job."

The Alcan attitude contrasts with that of some employers who are holding out on negotiations in the hopes of using new laws to cut wages or claw back conditions.

Large companies, including Qantas, have indicated they will use severe restrictions on workers' rights to slash overtime and other conditions.

At least one Melbourne company has flagged its intention to rip hundreds of dollars out of weekly pay packets.

The federal government is still drafting regulations that will underpin the new regime but it is expected to become effective within the next four weeks.

Robertson pointed out that the Gove EBA hadn't been due to expire until the end of the year.

He called the development "very encouraging".

"People in the Territory are very concerned about Work Choices. This is a sign that with good will, and a bit of vision, it doesn't have to mean conflict," Robertson said.


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