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Issue No. 306 12 May 2006  

Good Times
Hands up who watched Kim Beazley’s budget in reply last night? None of you? Thought so.


Interview: Out of the Bedroom
Reverend Jim Wallis is leading a crusade to take the moral debate into the public arena.

Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
The Howard Government has begun a series of workshops to sell its WorkChoice vsision. Sean Ambrose sneaked through the doors for Workers Online.

Unions: Lockout!
Jim Comerford’s eyewitness account of the 15-month Lockout of 10,000 New South Wales miners in1929-1930 records the inside story of Australia’s most bloody and bitter industrial conflict

Legal: The Fantasy of Choice
Professor Ron McCallum argues the WorkChoices laws are built on a fundamental fiction.

Politics: Labor Pains
Labor has dealt itself out of the crucial workplace relations debate by failing to articulate a credible policy alternative to Howard’s new WorkChoices legislation, argues Mark Heearn and Grant Michelson

Economics: Economics and the Public Purpose
Evan Jones pays tribute to John Kenneth Galbraith, a big man who never stopped arguing that economics should serve the public good, not create public squalor.

Corporate: House of Horrors
Anthony Keenan takes a tour of Sydney’s notorious, Asbestos House, courtesy of Gideon Haig.

History: Clash Of Cultures
Neale Towart with a new take on Mayday through the words of a punk icon

International: Childs Play
An ILO report into Child Labour shows some progress is being made to curb this gobal scurge .

Culture: Folk You Mate!
Phil Doyle dodges Morris Dancers to find signs of Working Life at the National Folk Festival in Canberra over the Easter Weekend.

Review: Last Holeproof Hero
Finally, a superhero who has worked out how to wear his underpants. Nathan Brown ogles V for Vendetta


 Howard Hunts Heroes

 Workplace Cop Shrugs Shoulders

 Gerry Built Apartments Fall Behind

 NFF Axe Over Childcare

 Ballarat Suffers Maxi-Rort

 Hunter Collects on Jobs

 Company Doctors Terminal

 Killer Bosses Swoop on Croweaters

 US: Thousands Fired For Joining Unions

 Cozzies Skills Skid

 Howard’s Unpaid Photo Op

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Albo's Meltdown
Labor's environment spokesman Antony Albanese argues that Chrernobyl is one reason why the ALP should stand firm on nuclear.

The Locker Room
A Sort Of Homecoming
Phil Doyle plays to the whistle.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West reports from Macquarie Street on some strange collective acction.

 Immigration Department Strikes Again
 Budget Dividend
 The Real Truth About Independent Contractors
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Gerry Built Apartments Fall Behind

A Perth builder is trying to import another 53 Filipino construction workers, despite plummeting productivity across his low-wage empire.

Gerry Hanssen already uses “guest labour”, AWAs and body hire to undercut going industry rates by hundreds of dollars a week.

And the cost is being borne by buyers of his Swan River and CBD apartments who face long delays before they can occupy their dwellings.

An internal Hanssen Pty memo, leaked to Workers Online, reveals the company wants more than 50 additional "guest workers" as projects, across Perth, fall months behind schedule.

The May Day memo shows his most advanced job, One-28, is only 37 percent completed when it should be 85 percent ready. Avena has reached less than a third of its planned 66.9 percent completion; and Soho is more than 50 percent behind schedule.

Hanssen admits both his most advanced projects are more than three months behind.

CFMEU state secretary, Kevin Reynolds, says it is little wonder because experienced construction workers won't put up with sub-standard wages, conditions or health and safety.

"He's indicated to us that he intends importing 300 guest workers," Reynolds says.

"People on the ground say he is paying the Filipinos $15 an hour, all-in, but we can't confirm that because it's Gerry's secret. He refuses to discuss it.

"We know for a fact he has them working on site, seven days a week.

"What we also know is that he uses AWAs and labour hire to pay all-in rates to his Australian workers. They don't get sick leave, redundancy, rostered days off or annual leave and the guys won't stay."

Reynolds says, on core rates alone, Hanssen pays crane drivers $16 an hour below EBA standards.

Hanssen's first foray into construction, The Tile Shop, ended in bankruptcy.

He reappeared as a small-scale operation before being contracted to do all the building for Singapore-based Finbar which has capitalised on Perth's apartment boom.

Hanssen is aggressively anti-union and a champion of Howard Government attempts to cut living standards..

He was one of the first large scale users of "guest labour" in the construction industry.

Hanssen sent his memo to managers to cover a two week absence while he visited India, China and the Phillipines. He said he would be "clearing bureaucratic issues" in Manila.

CFMEU national secretary, John Sutton, said Hanssen represented a growing number of "aggressive" employers keen to cash-in on John Howard's IR laws and lax immigration policy.

"We have seen the number of temporary migration visas skyrocket under this government. This arrangement leaves employers in total control of vulnerable workers. The big winners are unscrupulous employers and the losers are young Australians," Sutton said.


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