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Issue No. 323 08 September 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Double Jeopardy
As more examples of the human misery that is WorkChoices comes to light, the Howard Government is constructing a devious defence strategy that further erodes the independence of the public service.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 All Work and No Pay

 Peking Ducks Safety Regs

 MPs Face Super Clean-Out

 Gas Man Won't Say What's Cooking

 Crane Boss Lifts Her Profile

 World Bank Hollers for Marshalls

 Pork Choices

 Medibank Sale Looking Crook

 Radio Rentals Off Air

 Finger Man Gives For Sale Sign

 Libs: Lay Off Our Oppressor

 Cleaners Mop Up a Big One

 15 Percent All Round - Super!

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

Legends
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.

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

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

L E T T E R S
 Wicked Ways
 Catch a Tube
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

World Bank Hollers for Marshalls


World Bank policy wonks are promoting two US-funded micro-states as models for the workplace of the future.

The 2007 edition of Doing Business, prepared by the Bank's private sector development department, has declared the Marshall Islands to be the world's “Best Performer” for their almost total absence of labour regulation, displacing last year's champion, Palau.

The Marshall Islands and Palau are tiny Pacific island nations that have no labour codes and are not members of the ILO.

Both states were recently granted "independence" from the US but are largely funded from Washington.

The Australian government's AusAid website, says this about the Marshall Islands. "The living standards of the population are poor, the infant mortality rate is high and school enrolments are low."

The World Bank's online Doing Business database explains it is a labour market star because, among other features, it allows workers to be forced to work up to 24 hours per day and up to seven days a week, and requires no holidays or advance notice for dismissals.

Not being among the 179 member countries of the ILO, the Marshall Islands and Palau, population 20,000 across eight inhabited islands, are among a handful of countries not obliged to abide by the core labour standards (elimination of forced labour, child labour and discrimination, and respect for freedom of association and right to collective bargaining) required of ILO members.

World Bank presidents say the core standards are consistent with the Bank's development mission.

ICFTU general secretary, Guy Ryder, said it was ironic that the World Bank's most highly-promoted annual publication holds up countries that offer almost no protection for their workers as star performers on labour standards, while another division of the bank, the International Finance Corporation, stipulates it will not lend to firms that do not apply core labour standards.

"The World Bank should get its message straight. If the Bank truly believes that the ILO's core labour standards are good for development, it can't turn around and praise countries that don't join the ILO and don't respect the core standards," he said.

Ryder noted that earlier editions of Doing Business have been used in World Bank and IMF country-level strategy documents to force countries to do away with various kinds of workers' protection.

In South Africa, the IMF recommended in a recent policy report, that the government improve its Doing Business indicators by "streamlining" its hiring and dismissal procedures.

The changes would have required doing away with affirmative action rules that post-apartheid governments put in place in order to correct the legacy of several decades of racial discrimination.


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