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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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It's All Yellow, Mine Barons

It's official - yellow is the only colour of unionism endorsed by WorkChoices.

The challenge to independent unions was spelled out by one of the loudest voices in the federal government's IR cheer squad, last week.

"If unions want to survive under Workchoices, they are going to have to do some better deals," Australian Mines and Metals NSW manager, Gerard Boyce, told a NSW IR Society seminar in Sydney..

Boyce said if unions didn't start to do "better deals" employers would use the power Workchoices gave them to "limit their exposure".

Boyce told the IR Club the AMMA was "broadly supportive" of Howard's sweeping changes but still wanted more, including the end of "what's left of the award system" and the ability to opt out of the IR system completely.

CFMEU Mining Division secretary, Tony Maher, said nobody should be under any illusion about what the AMMA meant by better deals.

"We have dealt with these people for years and their attitude has always been - there can be a role for unions, as long as they do what we say," Maher said.

"Their preference is to drive unions out, all together, but compliant unions are acceptable.

"They should be supportive of these laws, after all, they wrote most of them."

Maher said, in coal mining, almost every new pit was established with non-negotiable AWAs as a condition of employment but, in nine out of ten, workers still elected to unionise and fight for collective contracts.

The model of the metalliferous sector, where unionisation was low, he said, was a recipe for "workplace disaster". Currently, it runs on long working hours and faces annual employee turnover of 30-50 percent and serious labour supply problems.

Maher said it was "extraordinary" that, in the face of that situation, the AMMA had won over other employers to its hardline agenda.

"It has incredible access to the federal government and has driven the employer agenda to the right," he said. "It is quite surprising that it has shifted groups like AiG (the Australian Industry Group) to become supporters of WorkChoices.

"Basically, WorkChoices was designed by the AMMA."


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