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Issue No. 319 11 August 2006  

Good Versus Evil
So it's come to this - working women's groups that alert clients to union activities will be denied federal government funding and, effectively, forced to close.


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.


 Sprung: Light on Day

 Mal Content to Challenge King

 More Standover Tactics in WA

 Qantas Holidays Delayed 150 Years

 Hockey Wields Stick

 We Have Ways of Cutting Your Pay

 Jihad Johnny Targets Women

 Council Workers Talk The Walk

 Trujillo Slices Millions Off Bottom Line

 Vehicle Jobs on Skids

 Teachers Suspend Selves

 Bishop Damns WorkChoices

 Workers Rights On The Road

 ACTU Backs Business, Germans

 Activist's What's On!


The Locker Room
Ruled Out
Phil Doyle plays by the rules

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

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

 Pimps and Prostitutes
 The Cruellest Cut
 Poll On
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More Standover Tactics in WA

A rogue WA contractor is seeking $1.2 million in fines and unspecified damages after, it claims, a meeting took 15 minutes of its time.

AMWU state secretary, Jock Ferguson, says Total Corrosion Control has already stolen around 300 hours from 40 employees at Alcoa's Pinjarra operation.

Ferguson lashed the company's use of penal provisions in the Workplace Relations and Building Industry Improvement Acts as "frivolous, provocative and unhelpful".

TCC became the first company in Australia to use the draconian provisions when it served writs on 40 AMWU members, seeking up to $28,600 in fines.

They will be in court on August 29, the same day as 107 CFMEU members from the troubled Perth-Mandurah rail project.

TCC is also chasing penalties of up to $110,000 against the AMWU, and unspecified damages from individuals and their union.

The dispute began when TCC refused to sign a memorandum of understanding to pay construction rates, at Pinjarra.

All other Alcoa contractors have signed the MOU in recognition of the fact that both maintenance and construction work goes on at the facility.

Union members held a meeting and went home, in protest, two weeks ago.

TCC sought and was granted orders requiring the men to return to work.

AMWU officials visited the site, the following morning, to explain the meaning of the orders and TCC alleges that meeting went 15 minutes beyond the scheduled starting time.

After workers were served with writs, last weekend, union officials again visited Pinjarra and the company claims, this time, the meeting went five minutes too long.

John Howard's new laws allow companies to deduct four hours wages for any meeting that impinges on working hours.

TCC slashed eight hours from everyone's pay in retribution for meetings, they say, ate up 20 minutes of their time.

Ferguson said both meetings were necessary because of TCC provocations.

"They didn't tell anyone they were docking wages. Effectively they have stolen a day's pay off everybody," Ferguson said.

"This employer is prepared to ruthlessly use every weapon the federal government has presented to destroy people's right to collectively bargain.

"It beats me how this sort of attitude is supposed to lead to a better, more co-operative workplace. In the end, it will reduce productivity."

Ferguson said the legal actions were "frivolous in the extreme".

"We will be defending them vigorously because we have done nothing wrong.'


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