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Issue No. 303 21 April 2006  

Brand Spanking
It took the Easter Bunny, a couple of diplomatic crises and a bit of classic Howard wedge politics to shift industrial relations off the front pages, but if you think the story is over, forget it.


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 Ain’t Necessarily So
Don't let anyone tell you that jobs and the environment are opposities, argues Neale Towart.

History: Melbourne’s 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.


 Costello Plans Super Swindle

 Control Freak Turns Hand to AWAs

 ‘Clean Start’ Sweeps Into Action

 Fleas Leave Andrews Scratching

 The $130 Question: What is He On?

 Howard Stings Liberal Mum

 Apprentices Assume Missionary Position

 $80,000 for Friendly Act

 David Phoenix Rises Again

 Rights At Work Worth Playing For

 Qantas Sackings Grounded

 Eight Hours Play

 TWU Boss Gaoled

 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.

 Say No To Optus
 Lying Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them II
 What Tax Cuts?
 Belly Says It’s Time
 A Word Of Warning Stop
 Mexican Revolution
 Well That Clears That Up Then
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Qantas Sackings Grounded

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission has ordered Qantas to come clean on the 'benchmarking' behind its income-cutting strategy.

Legal action by the AMWU has seen the airline ordered to hand over paperwork on its maintenance operations, including secret comparisons with offshore operators.

The Commission has also told the company to put hundreds of planned Sydney job cuts on hold while it consults with the unions to try to "avert or minimise the terminations".

AMWU National Secretary, Doug Cameron, said the decision showed the AIRC did not trust Qantas to keep its word.

"Qantas did not meet its obligations when it announced 480 jobs would be cut".

"This is a significant victory for our members and it's a significant victory for the Australian public because the best thing we can do is maintain every possible job we can in Australia", Cameron said.

"These are highly skilled and very important jobs that provide Qantas with its reputation for reliability and safety."

"Qantas now has to go through a proper consultation process that should lead to a better outcome for workers.

"I am confident that once we see the detail, it will be evident Qantas made this decision on cost-cutting grounds and that maintenance services would be affected."

Qantas has indicated it will abide by the Commission's decision. A spokesperson said the company would hand over the documents and consult with unions representing maintenance workers.

Legal counsel for the AMWU, Anney Gooley, said that such a decision would not have been possible under the new Howard Government's new industrial laws.

She said the unions' action had been commenced prior to the new laws coming into effect.

"It is only reasonable for workers and their unions to have proper information and to be consulted about the future of their jobs," Cameron continued.

"Under the new laws workers would not have this right."

The AMWU has sent information about the decision to all Qantas maintenance members.


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