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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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Technicians Win Action Ballot

Radio Rentals technicians have won the right to hold the first WorkChoices industrial action ballot in South Australia as part of their fight against sackings, victimisations and income stripping.

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission green-lighted the ballot, after a four-hour hearing at which company lawyers tried to frustrate on-the-job resistance with legal and technical arguments.

WorkChoices allows employers to strip "protected" conditions and cut wages below award standards but imposes detailed technical and beuraucratic requirements on workers who seek to resist.

Employees who take industrial action before jumping through the legal and technical hoops imposed by Canberra face substantial fines and the possibility of unlimited damages.

The Australian Electoral Commission will conduct the Radio Rentals ballot in Adelaide, next week.

AMWU assistant national secretary, Glenn Thompson, said technicians were left with "few alternatives" when their employer sacked three union activists and unveiled AWAs that would strip the rest of core award protections.

Thompson said the company, represented by anti-worker Adelaide law firm, EMA, had torn up negotiated conditions and employed a dodgy corporate restructure to further its agenda.

Thompson said Radio Rentals had:

- told the union "categorically" it would not seek to impose individual contracts

- successfully applied to have the existing contract terminated

- sacked the elected delegate and two other activists

- introduced "sub-standard" AWAs

- tried to change the legal identity of the employer from Radio Rentals to Walkers Stores

Thompson said the three technicians declared "redundant" before the AWAs were produced had 30, 27 and 17 years of service.

As a result of the collective contract being terminated, the delegate lost $86,000 in redundancy pay as well as his job.

Thompson said technicians would be meeting, this week, to determine the forms of industrial action that should be included on the ballot.


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