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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

Umpire: Dump Contractors Now


Action at Vales Point Power Station has led to the industrial umpire ordering power generator Delta to stop using contractors.

"This was nothing but backdoor privatisation," says Electrical Trades Union organiser Russ Wilson. "Employees from State Owned Corporations like Delta are sick of work being contracted out and then being told there is not enough work."

Wilson slammed the contracting out as nothing but a ruse to punt experienced maintenance staff that are vital to managing outages at the plant.

"These are highly skilled people who work in power stations and they are trying to get rid of them. They should be utilised rather than being dumped when the country is facing a skills shortage.

"It is bean counting gone mad."

Workers at the plant accused Delta of undermining maintenance tradesmen by contracting out work, evidence that there was plenty of work available for existing staff.

"They hired a contract manager to find outside work for maintenance staff," says Wilson. "While they were contracting out work they already had."

Bans on overtime and other duties by maintenance staff led to the issue going before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, where Deputy President Harrison ordered Delta to cease the practice of contracting out work until such time as there is agreement with the union.

"Delta even tried to intimidate a delegate after I went to inform him about the orders,' said Wilson.


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