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Issue No. 311 16 June 2006  

Big Target
Well, he’s finally done it. Opposition leader Kim Beazley has wrestled with his internal doubters and staked his future, and one suspects the next election, on workers rights.


Interview: Rock Solid
Bill Shorten gives the inside story on the Australian Workers Union's involvement in the Beaconsfield rescue.

Industrial: Eight Simple Rules for Employing My Teenage Daughter
Phil Oswald bought up his kids to believe in their rights; so when his 16-year old daughter was told to cop a pay cut she was never going to take it quietly.

Politics: The Johnnie Code
WorkChoices is encrypted deep in the PM's political DNA, writes Evan Jones

Energy: Fission Fantasies
Adam Ma’anit looks at the big business push behind the 'clean nuclear' debate that is sweeping the globe.

History: All The Way With Clarrie O'Shea
The WorkChoices Penal Powers are the latest in a long line of penal sanctions against trade unions, writes Neale Towart

International: Closer to Home
If Australia can forgive its debt to Iraq, why not to Indonesia and the Philippines, write Luke Fletcher and Karen Iles

Economics: Taking the Fizz
While the Treasurer has been popping the post-Budget champers, Frank Stilwell gives a more sober assessment.

Unions: Stronger Together
Amanada Tattersall looks at the possibilities of strengthening alliances between unions, environmental and community organisations

Review: Montezuma's Revenge
Tommy Lee Jones directs and stars in a film about racism and retribution, writes James Gallaway.

Poetry: Fair Go Gone
Employers in the land rejoice, for we are girt by greed.


 Esselte Occasioning Workplace Harm

 Andrews Backs State Laws

 Death Sentence for BHP

 Unions Deliver: Freehills

 No Job is Safe: AIRC

 Klan Backs Jan

 Village People Clean Up

 Dad Heads for Blacktown

 Indonesian Guards Occupy Office

 Qantas Passes the Bucks

 IR Laws a Loser: Lib

 Business Bombs Beazley

 OECD Undercuts Howard

 Leafy Council Rewards Choppers

 High Price Of A Low Wage

 Actvist's What's On!


The Soapbox
The Beaconsfield Declaration
As the Prime Minister feted Brant Webb and Todd Russell, their colleagues were outside with a message to the rest of Australia.

The Locker Room
Run Like You Stole Something
Phil Doyle observes that there are some tough bastards out there.

The Westie Wing
That fun-loving friend of the workers, Ian West, reports from the red leather of the Bear Pit.

Class Action
Phil Bradley draws the lines between education funding and the current skills crisis.

 Lost in the Supermarket
 Career Opportunities
 A Nuclear Error
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Esselte Occasioning Workplace Harm

Federal public servants are standing over western Sydney workers trying to beat off sub-standard AWAs.

American multi-national Esselte is spiriting employees to the Campbelltown Art Gallery where they are being interrogated about “union coercion” by officers from Kevin Andrews' Department of Employment and Workplace Services.

Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, said the strategy proved the federal government was "partisan" in its workplace dealings.

"This company has called in DEWR to pressure workers into signing AWAs while pretending they are investigating unions for pressuring workers." Mr Robertson said.

'It's absurd. The simple answer is that workers at this company made a prudent decision not to sign the AWAs because it's not in their interest.

"This is another example of federal agencies being used as enforcers of government's political ideology."

Esselte manager Justin Reidy is taking people from the distribution warehouse, two at a time, and driving them to the Art Gallery, where DEWR officers grill them in a back room.

Workers are told they will be subpoenaed to appear in court if they refuse to answer questions.

They are then required to sign witness statements that could be used against their union.

At least five people were interviewed last Thursday and a further four on Friday.

A witness statement seen by Workers Online gave evidence of an Esselte manager pestering workers to sign AWAs, which strip penalty rates, wages and conditions.

Officials from the National Union of Workers were amazed by the company's move.

Esselte had been aggressively pushing the individual workplace agreements on 20 employees at Minto.

"If the department is wondering why these workers aren't signing these AWAs, it's because they leave them $80 a week worse off," says Derek Belan from the NUW. "Do they think our members are that stupid they'd agree to that?

"It's not rocket science."


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