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Issue No. 318 03 August 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Don't Bank on Costello's Oil Shocker
Did the economy slip on a banana skin or an oil slick?

F E A T U R E S

Interview: A Life And Death Matter
Macquarie Street and Canberra are squaring off over safety in the workplace, NSW Minister for Industrial relations, John Della Bosca, explains what's at stake.

Unions: Fighting Back
When John Howard's building industry enforcer started threatening people's homes, one couple hit the road. Jim Marr met them in Sydney.

Industrial: What Cowra Means
The ruling on the Cowra abattoir case highlights the implications of the new IR rules, according to John Howe and Jill Murray

Environment: Scrambling for Energy Security
Howard Government hypocrisy is showcased in its climate change manoeuvring, Stuart Rosewarne writes:

Politics: Page Turner
A new book leaves no doubt about whether the faction came before the ego, Nathan Brown writes.

Economics: The State of Labour
The capacity of the state to shape the political economy and thus improve the social lives of the people must be reasserted, argues Geoff Dow.

International: Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

History: Liberty in Spain
Worker Self-Management is good management. The proof in Spain was in Catalania, Andalusia and continues in the Basque Country, as Neale Towart explains.

Review: Go Roys, Make A Noise
Phil Doyle thought he'd find nostalgia, but instead Vulgar Press' new book, Maroon & Blue is a penetrating insight into the suburban mind under stress.

N E W S

 Ah, Sol

 Telstra Contractors in Bush Raid

 Spooks Go “Nuclear”

 Drivers Under Attack

 Stacks on the Hill

 Advertising Works

 29 Face Secret Interrogations

 Bureaucrats Sit on Wages

 Blue Mountains Fit Through Loophole

 G Spot for Rally

 Chalkies Give WorkChoices An F

 Howard Base Shaky

 Deaf Workers Lose Voice

 Canberra Scratches WorkChoices Handicap

 MUA Hungry for Change

 Vanny Changes Story

 Activists What's On

C O L U M N S

The Locker Room
Ruled Out
Phil Doyle plays by the rules

Fiction
Tommy's Apprentice
Chapter One - Tommy and "The Boy"

Politics
Westie Wing
Ian West wonders what might happen if the NSW Coalition actually did win power next March at the State elections.

L E T T E R S
 Bussies Are Tops
 What Was He On About?
 Belly On Balance
 Help Wanted
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Telstra Contractors in Bush Raid


A Telstra contractor is trying to pinch $20,000 a year from the pockets of subcontractors in the bush after the telco punted more than 200 of its own technicians.

Downer has told subcontractors it wants work in rural areas to be paid at the same rate as in the big smoke.

The scheme would see rate drop from $105 to $80 a job.

CEPU secretary Jim Metcher said the cut would make it even harder for regional subbies, who pay all their own work expenses such as petrol, to provide services to the bush.

"With the price of petrol through the roof, further interest rate rises and the overall cost of living increasing rapidy, a pay cut of this magnitude has many of the bush's technicians wondering how they are going to provide for their families and retain their homes," Metcher said.

The rate cut follows Telstra's punting of 207 of its own technicians from regional NSW.

"This attempt to slash the rates of regional subcontractors just goes to show the contempt with which the Federal Government and Telstra hold for telecommunication services in the bush."

The CEPU and subcontractors are continuing discussions with Downer to get the rate reduction nixed.


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