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Issue No. 324 15 September 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Democracy Rules
The hysterical response to the ACTU’s blueprint to restore industrial democracy to the Australian workplace only serves to underline what a brazen grab for employer privilege the Howard Government’s changes to IR really are.

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

 Medibank Sale "Critical"

 Broken Down and Packaged for Export

 Child's Play: New Low for Spooks

 Judge Lashes Building Laws

 Buy Gum and Masticate on "Associates"

 Bosses on the Barbie

 No Secrets On Union Agenda

 OWS: Better Never Than Late

 Youth Workers Beat AWAs

 Kiwis Demand Shelf Respect

 Meat Man Steaks Claim

 Heinemann Chooses Its Laws

 Air Safety Crashes

 Super-Size Me

 Less is More for Dixon

 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
 Tony Terrific
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News

No Secrets On Union Agenda


Employers would have to show the majority did not want a collective agreement before they could force contracts on their workers, under a union plan to restore democracy to the workplace.

The report 'A Fair Go At Work', based on a high-level international fact finding tour, earlier this year, recommends a system based on good faith collective bargaining with the onus on employers to prove this is not what the majority want.

And where a dispute emerges, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission would be empowered to order a ballot where employers resist union involvement.

The IARC would have the power to determine the will of the majority, by petition, workplace resolution or, as a last resort, through a secret ballot.

Rejecting the US model of up-front recognition ballots, where unions must win 50 per cent support to even get in the door, unions would maintain the right to represent members regardless of density.

"In short, ballots should be a last resort," delegation member and Unions NSW assistant secretary Mark Lennon told Workers Online.

In contrast, US laws require a majority of workers to vote before a union comes to the negotiating table, deny members the right to be represented.

"What you would find is that battlegrounds would not be n on-union wo0rkplace who want a collective deal, bust established sites where union-busters would attempt to purge the workplace of the collective" Lennon says.

Another key element of the plan is good faith bargaining - the union proposal would no longer allow employers to lock out workers and refuse to offer anything other than individual contracts.

"If a majority of workers want a collective agreement the law should require their employer to respect that choice," ACTU secretary Greg Combet says.

"If, as John Howard and his big-business backers assert, workers don't want collective agreements, let the workers themselves have a say in that choice.

"In a free and democratic society the views of all organisations including unions, and ultimately the views of citizens themselves, must be properly considered - something that is not happening in Australia."

The proposal will be debated at the forthcoming ACTU Congress in late October before becoming ACTU policy.


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