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Issue No. 302 07 April 2006  

The Cowra Clause
The plight of the Cowra meatworkers is a fitting illustration of the way the new industrial laws will fundamentally shift the balance of relations in the Australian workplace.


Interview: Head On
John Buchanan has been warning that WorkChoices would be a car crash. Now he surveys the damage.

Unions: Do You Have a Moment?
CFMEU Mining national secretary Tony Maher lets fly at the new industrial laws.

Industrial: Vital Signs
In his new book, Craig Emerson argues that destroying unionism will not be in Australia's long term interests.

Economics: Taxing Times
Frank Stilwell argues that there are progressive alternatives to the slash and burn approach to tax reform.

Environment: It Ainít Necessarily So
Don't let anyone tell you that jobs and the environment are opposities, argues Neale Towart.

History: Melbourneís Hours
Neale Towart reluctantly pays homage to Victoria's celebration of the eight hour day.

Immigration: Opening the Floodgates
John Howard is deciding more and more foreign workers should come into this country - without the rights of citizenship, writes John Sutton,

Review: Pollie Fiction
For someone barely 25 years Sarah Doyle has an enviable track record in theatre behind her.

Poetry: The Cabal
Poetry returns to Workers Online with this rollicking ode to employer power.


 Abattoir Boss Slaughters Andrews

 More Slaughter in South Australia

 Pickets Won't Face Cannon

 Teens Win Thousands

 Praise the Laws

 Where The Bloody Hell Is Our Contract?

 Building Crusade Raids Pockets

 Workers Shows Its Hand

 It's All Yellow, Mine Barons

 Lismore Nine Breaks Ranks

 Uber Bosses Clean Up

 Howard's Skills Solution: Sack Apprentices

 Spineless Companies Block Safety

 Boxall in Sickie Backflip

 Activist's What's On!


Democracy in Action
Former NSW Premier Neville Wran's speech to commemorate 150 years of responsible government.

The Westie Wing
There has been activity aplenty in the NSW Parliament this month, reports Ian West.

The Soapbox
From Chaver to Cobber
John Robertson, Unions NSW Secretary, hosting Passover at Sydney Trades Hall discovers the first comrades followed a bloke called Moses.

Postcard from New Orleans
Mark Brenner surveys the long-term impact of Hurricane Katrina on the regions workers.

The Locker Room
My Country Right Or In Lane Five
Phil Doyle observes the golden shower at the recent Commonwealth Games, and asks what it means for the last great unpredictable drama.

Vale Bill Hartley
Unlike some of his comrades, Bill Hartley never departed from his position as a radical nor did he die rich in assets, writes Bob Scates.

 Crap TV
 Social Action
 French revolution
 Fan Mail
 Belly Spreads The Word
 All Out!
 Lying Lies And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
 Help Wanted
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More Slaughter in South Australia

Queensland-based meat operation, Teys Bros, used WorkChoices to cut earnings at a South Australian shed by up to $400 a week, and punt two union delegates.

Around 20 union members were locked out after they refused to sign take-it or leave-it AWAs that stripped holidays, including Australia Day, and undercut EBA rates.

When they were forced back to the Naracoorte Abattoir, by the introduction of John Howard's new IR regime, Teys Brothers celebrated by "suspending" delegates, Jamie Stokie and Terry McCarthy, and slashing the wages of their supporters.

The hardline approach, driven by Brisbane-based Human Resources Manager John Salter, has pitched Teys Brothers onto the frontline of the nationwide battle for workers' rights.

Salter is now mulling over how far he wants Teys Brothers in front of the union-busting pack.

The company missed its own deadline, last Tuesday, to respond to a "war or peace" ultimatum delivered by the Meatworkers Union.

"They can operate on civilised lines or they can take the consequences," AMIEU South Australian secretary, Graham Smith, said.

""Our members aren't going to take this sort of belligerence and they have support from around the country."

The gung-ho nature of the Teys Bros campaign appears to have made it vulnerable on a number of fronts.

It utilised the services of 20 imported Chinese workers, during the lockout. They were brought into Australia as "skilled" guest workers but, Workers Online understands, have since been relegated to labouring positions.

On their return, the protesting meatworkers were downgraded from positions as skilled boners and slicers to labouring jobs, suffering effective wage cuts of around $400 a week.

Stockie and McCarthy were suspended indefinitely, without pay, in a move Smith described as "de facto sackings".

On the surface, the company appears to have opened itself up to possible freedom of association, and discrimination actions, and there are serious questions about its use of guest labour.

Smith wouldn't be drawn on the Meatworkers' strategy.

"We are keeping our powder dry," Smith said. "We have explained the choices carefully and the ball is in the company's court."


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