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Issue No. 321 25 August 2006  

Crude Politics
It is one of the great mysteries of Australian politics that the Prime Minister has managed to emerge unscathed from one of the most profound geo-political misadventures since history was first recorded.


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.


 Howard Amps Up Repression

 Andrews on the Fiddle

 Robbo Flags Mobile Holidays

 Shop Group Maroons Kids

 Condition Critical

 BHP Confronts Chilean Resistance

 The Thin Yellow Line

 Safety Goes to the Dogs

 Pollies Wings Clipped By Junket Ban

 Technicians Win Action Ballot

 Academics Take Contract Lessons

 Hardie, Ha, Ha - Directors Laughing

 Amcor Sends Hundreds Packing

 Warren Goes to Ground

 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.

 Seek and Ye Shall Find
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BHP Confronts Chilean Resistance

Thirteen billion dollar resources giant BHP Billiton is taking on a group of workers who defied fascist dictator, Augusto Pinochet.

The Anglo Australian company refused to talk to striking workers at Chile's Escondida copper mine until the country's Socialist president, Michelle Bachelet, intervened, last week.

The mine's 2000 unionised employees - 97 percent of the workforce at the world's largest copper mine - had been on strike for a fortnight when Bachelet sent her Labour Minister north.

Immediately after discussion with Santiago's representative, BHP upped its wage offer from three to four percent, along with a $16,000 a head sweetener.

Earlier, BHP Billiton had refused to talk to the miners' union because, it claimed, a blockade, in support of their action, was "illegal".

Miners in the country's north developed a reputation for militant resistance after Chile's democratically-elected government was toppled by a US-backed military coup in 1973.

Bolstered by Washington and Britain's Margaret Thatcher, the Pinochet regime used murder and torture to suppress democracy and put Chile on an extremist economic course.

Last week's record, $13 billion BHP profit announcement is also being tainted by revelations at the inquiry into the rorting of the UN's oil for food program in Iraq.

BHP Billiton has been linked to AWB efforts to bribe former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein.

In Australia, the company runs a strong anti-union line.

BHP Billiton led the field in using AWAs to try to deunionise its workplaces

It's hardline industrial policies were fingered by an independent safety inquiry following deaths at three of its Pilbara sites in 2004.

Perth solicitor Mark Ritter, found those policies were a "factor which has impacted and continues to impact on the successful implementation of safety systems"


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