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Issue No. 300 24 March 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Of Milestones and Millstones
Three hundred issues ago, in February 1999, Workers Online published its first edition, with the following promise: “to bring you news and views in the traditions of the workers press of yesteryear, but with our eyes firmly on the future.”

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

 Coonan Practises Her ABC

 Mr Andrews Decrees

 Year Zero Set for Monday

 Secret Police Visit Workers

 PacNat Back On Track

 Print Bosses Finger the Bush

 Whinger Draws Fire

 National IT Win

 RailCorp Shtum On Asbestos Stations

 Deaf Bank Pinged $145,000

 Phantom AWA of the Opera

 Crane Company Hooks Workers

 Umpire: Dump Contractors Now

 Lift Companies Promote Falls

 Activists 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
 Bully for Us
 Onya, Pete!
 Blind Johnny
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Print Bosses Finger the Bush


Peak employer bodies are celebrating WorkChoices by stripping thousands of dollars a year off rural families.

The Printing Industry Association and Australian Industry Group (AIG) have refused to flow on skills-based payments to thousands of people in the Bush, employed under the Country Printing and Publishing Award.

The AMWU won increases of up to $3200 a year, in October, for Graphic Arts Award members by convincing the AIRC of the need for better skills recognition.

Up until this week, that recognition would have flowed to people of the same skills in rural Australia, but WorkChoices has put an end to that.

And, last week, industry heavies gave bush workers the metaphorical middle finger.

Stunned AMWU official, Steve Walsh, said the decision was a kick in the teeth for skills recognition and rural Australia.

"Thousands of country workers will be denied increases that the AIRC has determined their skills entitle them to," Walsh said.

"We are left with a five level structure with no skills relationship.

"These employers are greedy and selfish. They have shown a complete lack of concern for skills and rural Australia, despite the best efforts of the union.

"It is amazing that an industry body can adopt a policy that deliberately consigns most of its members to a commercial disadvantage. That's exactly what the Printing Industry Association has done to its own members in urban Australia."

The AIRC accepted the union's contention that the Grahpic Arts Award should adopt an eight-point skills recognition structure.

Workers Online understands that between 10,000 and 15,000 people, outside the major cities, are employed under its rural counterpart.

They work for commercial printers and non-daily regional newspapers.

Rural Press is one of the largest employers covered by the Country Publishing and Printing document.


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