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Issue No. 301 31 March 2006  

Deep Impact
No the sky didnít fall in, but there were an awful lot of acorns falling on Australian workers this week as John Howardís dream of a workplace without rights became a reality.


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 Postís dodgy Faculty Nominated Doctor system is leaving sick workers feeling worse.

History: Right Turn, Clyde
Bob Gould believes news of Clyde Cameronís 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: Howardís 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 Ďcultural museumí.

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.


 Doctors Orders - Take a Walke

 Teens Changing the Landscape

 Voters Desert Howard

 Electrical Boss Zaps Safety

 Buggers in Office

 Pub With No Beer

 Telstra's Townsville Shocker

 ABCC: Safety a Gas

 Rough Night Pays Off

 Game, Set, Match Building Workers

 Feds AWA Offers No Choice


The Soapbox
Australian Fascism
Rowan Cahill critiques Gerard Hendersonís 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

 Sing-a-Long Unions
 The Earl Speaks
 Market's Blind
 Hi Guys!
 Let Us Rejoice
 Tom's Bit
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Doctors Orders - Take a Walke

Moorebank doctors have used WorkChoices to punt a widow with 20 years service, without explanation.

The doctors, E Lau and K Lai, waited until John Howard's pro-sacking legislation was in force to drop new, non-negotiated terms of employment on three receptionists.

Walke, who shares a car with her TAFE-student daughter, said one of the main things she had wanted clarified was the doctors' insistence that she make herself available for duties at their Cabramatta operation.

"I had a job where I could walk to work and I wanted to talk to them about what the new terms would mean," she explained.

"I wanted to talk to the employer but I didn't even get the opportunity. I was given the new conditions on Wednesday and, about 12.15 today (Thursday) I was sacked by the office manager.

"I feel I have been unfairly dismissed because I have done nothing wrong. Why should all my conditions change, after 20 years, without any discussion?"

If the doctors had dumped Walke, last week, the longstanding USU member would have been able to challenge the decision through an unjustified dismissal action.

But one of the cornerstones of the Howard government's workplace changes, was to remove that right from any Australian at a workplace of less than 100 people.

The Prime Minister, last week, said the only person who needed to worry was the "office whinger".

Walke said she would "definitely" have sought redress if she had been sacked one week earlier.

USU executive president, Michael Want, said his union had advised Walke to talk to her employer about the new terms but the doctors had "clearly decided to take advantage of Howard's industrial relations changes".

Meanwhile, the AWU is going in to bat for a young Dad who was sacked on the spot after trying to stick up for a customer.

Windsor Turf Supplies jumped onto the Howard bandwagon when Waylon Vaughan questioned the quality of turf being sent to a customer.

AWU official, Nick Allen, said it was "ridiculous" that Howard had given business the right to dump a person in those circumstances.

He said Vaughan was a qualified greenkeeper with chemical handling certificates.

"He's raised a legitimate concern and the boss has said - right you're gone. No notice, no entitlements, just sent him on his way.

"An awful lot of people are waking up to the fact that this legislation is anti-worker, anti-customer and anti-Australian," the AWU's Nick Allen said.


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