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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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Teens Changing the Landscape

Two Sutherland Shire teenagers joined the front line against WorkChoices after being paid $3.50 an hour on a central city construction site.

The would-be tradesmen flung in their first fulltime jobs after JAL Landscape and Construction dudded them on wages and allowances, and failed to register their apprenticeships.

Stephen Pemberton and Brett Conlon joined the CFMEU and, with the support of their parents, began leafleting Sydneysiders about the reality of John Howard's workplace.

Conlon told Workers Online there was "no way" he thought he would be a union activist when he left St Pat's College, only a few months ago.

"It was unbelievable," he said of his treatment at JAL.

"When they offered me an apprenticeship I was very keen but, then, they didn't pay us.

"We didn't get paid for four weeks, there were no pay slips and no overtime. We were working long hours, until 10.15 at night. All we were getting was $250 a week.

"I would like to continue my apprentice but, after this, I'm not sure."

He said he had been comfortable seeking union support because his father, a bus driver, and teacher mother were trade unionists.

The CFMEU estimates both youngsters are owed more than $10,000 for work they did at JAL.

Pemberton's mother, Paula, explained how the families went looking for help.

"The boys were so happy when they got the apprenticeship offers," she told Unions NSW delegates.

"Then, we didn't know what to do so we put it into Google and up popped the union. We haven't looked back since."

The two 17-year-olds say they were required to sign individual contracts that contained no sick leave, overtime or public holiday entitlements.

Pemberton said JAL boss, John Lintmeijer, owed him thousands of dollars and he had no qualms about going public.

CFMEU secretary, Andrew Ferguson, praised the courage and commitment of the pair whose plight has attracted widespread media coverage.

"John Howard has written a rorters charter for the building industry," Ferguson said. "This type of behaviour is exactly what he spent millions of taxpayer dollars trying to stop us stamping out."

The CFMEU, supported by Unions NSW, is asking supporters to:

- contact John or Adam Lintmeiger from JAL and demand payment for Pembeton and Conlon. John Lintmeiger 0422 677199, Adam Lintmeijer 0412 120604. Email [email protected]

- contact Rudoph Belin of Newinvest, who contracted JAL to work on the site, and ask him to ensure that people who worked on his project are paid. 0410 606213. Email: [email protected]

Ferguson asked supporters of the campaign not to be rude or abusive, during phone calls, irrespective of provocation.


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