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Issue No. 320 18 August 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Fixing the WorkChoices Mess
While the Rights at Work campaign has galvanised opposition to the Howard Government’s WorkChoices legislation, the debate about what sort of system should replace it is just hotting up.

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

 Spin Bowls Fair Pay

 “Battler” Liberal on Safety

 Radio Rentals Launches Hit

 Under the Pump

 Privacy Goes East

 Which Bank Tossed Out of Court

 Mum Lashes Feds

 Sack Boss a Loser

 Let's Fly AWA

 Star City Bangs Wages Drum

 Prof Offers AWA Lesson

 Howard Stands By His Men

 Wife Miscarries After Attack

 Activist's 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
 Love Me Slender
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News

Radio Rentals Launches Hit


An Adelaide company is using WorkChoices to rip $86,000 out of the pocket of a long-serving employee, sack union activists, and strip its entire workforce of core award protections.

Radio Rentals sacked three union activists on the spot, last week, and tried to impose sub-standard AWAs on anyone left standing.

Stunned AMWU officials say the company has lied, torn up negotiated conditions, and employed a dodgy corporate restructure to further its income-slashing agenda.

Assistant national secretary, Glenn Thompson, said Radio Rentals had:

- refused to conclude a new collective contract, offering only an effective pay cut

- categorically denied its intention to impose individual contracts

- successfully applied, under Howard's new laws, to have the existing contract terminated

- introduced "sub-standard AWAs"

- sacked the elected delegate, with 30 years service, and two other activists, and,

- tried to change the legal identity of the employer from Radio Rentals to Walkers Stores, effectively eliminating rights to enforce service-based entitlements

Thompson said the three technicians, declared "redundant", had 30, 26 and 17 years service with Radio Rentals, respectively.

"They handed them cheques and walked them out the door. As a result of the collective contract being terminated, our delegate lost $86,000 in redundancy pay as well as his job."

Thompson described the pattern AWA, offered to 24 staff, as a "nasty piece of work" that effectively eliminated a range of core award protections.

"The AWA is a bare-bones agreement and anything not included is at the discretion of the company and can be abolished through company policy," he said.

He confirmed the employer, for AWA purposes, had been changed to Walker Stores Proprietary Limited.

AMWU members at Radio Rentals have not had any wage increase for three years.

When Workers Online published, workers were meeting to determine their response.

Meanwhile, disgusted South Australians rallied outside Radio Rentals, last Friday, in an effort to protect Radio Rentals staff from the ravages of John Howard's new workplace regime.

"We've got to draw public attention to what this company is doing," SA Unions secretary, Janet Giles, told Workers Online.

"Radio Rentals is an iconic business in this state. It's where most Adelaide people got their first television.

"They were a respected employer of good standing. It is very disturbing to see them using John Howard's laws to stop people collectively bargaining."

Workers Online understands Radio Rentals AWAs are the handiwork of Adelaide law firm, EMA.


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