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Issue No. 304 28 April 2006  

Canaries in the Coalmine
It was one of the defining symbols of the industrial era and the tenuous nature of working life – the bird in the cage whose expiration was a miner’s early warning that things were not OK.


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.


 Hit Run Mum Bats For Son

 Revealed: Bosses Told To Blame Howard

 Amber Light for Pay Cuts

 Andrews Backs Armed Hold Ups

 New Front on High Court Attack

 Homer Takes Rights to India

 Tunnel Vision a “Disgrace”

 Mining Vigil at Day of Mourning

 Dad's Death Revisited

 Canberra Confidential, Andrews on the Run

 Rock Solid Tony For Sale

 SA Boss Not Trusted With Kids

 Army Declares War On Workers

 Unions Take On Space Invaders

 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.

 Win in the Post
 Belly Battles
 Answer is Easy
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Hit Run Mum Bats For Son

Within hours of being contacted by Workers Online a trolley collecting giant agreed to pay the wages of a 15-year-old employee whose mum was run over when she tried to extract payment.

Daniel Persky was one of 15 Brisbane trolley collectors stiffed by a company operating under the logo of Advanced National Services.

"Being run down by the workplace manager, after insisting on payment of wages and other basic workplace rights, is extreme," says Heather Persky, whose son worked at Coles at Toowong.

Workers Online put the allegations to Advanced National Services CEO, Edward Klimowicz, who said he had just been alerted to the claims.

Coles subcontracts trolley collection to Advanced National Services (ANS) who operate as a franchise. Franchisees then use contractors to provide trolley collection, collectors being employed on an agreement with ANS.

Daniel was told he would have to re-apply for his job to receive wages, including submitting a new tax declaration, but would not be allowed to claim the tax-free threshold, meaning he would be paying 49 cents in the dollar tax on an income of less than $6000.

"It is a strange situation when employees must sign an employment agreement to be honest, punctual, responsible for their actions, protect the good name of ANS, but ANS refuses to acknowledge any reciprocal responsibility," says Heather Persky. "Apparently ANS pass workplace responsibility on to nameless people who can't or refuse to be contacted."

Klimowicz claimed he had not heard of the issue until the day before he was contacted by Workers Online, but Heather Persky claims she written numerous times to different people within ANS, including the CEO.

Klimowicz said his business dealt with the "lowest level of the socio-economic spectrum".

"Some of them turn out to be not very savoury types," admitted Klimowicz. "There are people in this country who are not to be trusted. Some run businesses, small and large."

Klimowicz would not reveal the franchise holder for Coles Toowong, claiming that a contractor to the franchisee would provide the service. He denied that it was policy to not pay trolley collectors at the Toowong Coles.

It is unclear who the contractor was, but Kerry Vogler from Advanced National Services became very agitated when confronted by Heather Persky. In front of several trolley collectors, including Daniel Persky, Vogler abused Heather Persky before allegedly running her down when she took off in her car.

Police, who have charged Vogler over the incident, told Heather Persky that Vogler was unlicensed at the time.

Kerry Vogler's son, James, told Workers Online that he was now "sort of" the contractor, referring enquiries to his "boss" Nigel Hendy, who denied being the Franchisee before refusing any further comment.

"This is a warning to parents to check out their children's employment conditions," says Heather Persky. "Trolley collecting is hard and potentially dangerous work; much of it is done by schoolboys or uni students. When they are paid it is a pittance, usually around $7 per hour, but sadly they often need to fight just to get paid."


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