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Issue No. 322 01 September 2006  

Justice, Applied Liberally
To think, Phillip Ruddock used to be a liberal.


Interview: Australia’s Most Wanted
The ACCC is the latest state agency to turn its guns on the construction union. National official, Dave Noonan, discusses the implications.

Industrial: The Fox and the Contractor
With new laws looming for “independent contractors”, Foxtel subbies have had the carpet pulled from under their feet, writes Nathan Brown.

Unions: Industrial Wasteland
A group of inner-Sydney veterans appear to be working to strip their families of retirement incomes. Jim Marr records their desperation.

International: Two Bob's Worth
German and British workers are participating in business decisions while WorkChoices locks Australians out of the conversation, writes Anthony Forsyth.

Economics: National Interest
John Howard claimed that interest rates would always be lower under a Coalition government than under Labor, Neale Towart crunchess the numbers.

Environment: The Real Dinosaur
Economic ignorance remains at the top and the critics are oblivious says Sol Power

History: Only In Spain?
The experiences of self management during the Civil War have been the one positive factor to come from that tragic event, and the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation thrives today.

Review: Clerk Off
Nathan Brown draws solace from some fellow social misfits.


 Boss Gives Dad the Finger

 Amber's Law Pulps WorkChoices

 Westfield Flogs Good Deal

 Building Workers Spooked

 Bankers to Train Assassins

 Astroboy Blasts Off

 First Global Deal Docks in Germany

 Bans Stop the Press

 Deportation for Pay-To-Work Tradesman

 Telstra in Bush Bloodbath

 Boss Punts Assaulted Teen

 Ballots Stuffed By WorkChoices

 Howard in a Spin

 Extras – The Waterfront.

 Activist's What's On!


Westie Wing
MLC Ian West ventures beyond Macquarie St and into the desert of the eco rats.

The Soapbox
Testing Times
Former RLPA secretary and Newcastle Knights prop, Tony Butterfield, fires up over dawn raids.

Dare to Win
The union movement has lost an inspirational leader of working men and women, writes Jeana Vithoulkas

Tommy's Apprentice
Chapter Two - Tommy’s Tale.

 Please Don’t Go
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Westfield Flogs Good Deal

Resistance to WorkChoices has moved to the top end of town with retail giant Westfield buying into a NSW award and steel giant Smorgon smelting individual contracts.

In a blow to the Howard Government's anti-worker agenda, shopping centre chain Westfield has become the first non-state owned company to use NSW law to dodge WorkChoices.

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission last week approved a project award that will see 400 construction workers at a Newcastle site receive an average $80 a week productivity payment, as well as industry standard super and redundancy.

Project agreements, banned under the Howard Government's industrial relations laws, are allowed in NSW if the employer and employees agree.

"This sends the message to other companies they can be good employers if they really want to," Newcastle Trades Hall Secretary Gary Kennedy said. "There is no longer an excuse to hide behind WorkChoices."

Kennedy said the incentive for Westfield to agree to a site award was "continued industrial stability" at the $140 million Kotara project.

In handing down the decision Commission deputy president Rod Harrison said the award provided "a formula for success of the project".

Kennedy said he did not expect a challenge from the Feds.

"The ABCC (Australian Building and Construction Commission) had a look at it, and they may not be happy, but this is NSW law."

The award was made under a recent addition to the NSW Industrial Relations Act -section 146A - which allows corporations to fall under NSW Industrial Relations Commission, if the corporation and the employees agree.

The section was placed in the act in response to WorkChoices.

Kennedy said unions would work towards similar site agreements in Newcastle at shopping centre Charlestown Square and the waterside Honeysuckle development, as well as state-owned corporation Hunter Water.

Steel Maker Refuses to Steal

Meanwhile, steel giant Smorgon has refused to employ workers on Australian Workplace Agreements since the introduction of Work Choices' no-disadvantage test in March.

The $3 billion company which employs 6,000 workers has made the deliberate decision not to offer any new AWAs on the grounds they would undermine trust in the workplace.

While workers are currently employed on a range of AWAs, union collective agreements and non-union collective agreements, no new AWAs had been offered since the removal of the no-disadvantage test under Work Choices, said Sandra McDiarmad, Smorgon's general manager of HR.

"We have made an absolute decision to stand by what we have committed to," she told the Fair Go From Here national IR forum put on by state and territory government ministers.

Work Choices had made no positive contribution to Australian industrial relations, McDiarmad said.

"I haven't detected anything positive yet. I'm not holding my breath ... I don't think large companies are doing a lot with Work Choices," she said.


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