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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

Youth Workers Beat AWAs


Judy Large gets great joy from her work caring for disadvantaged and disabled children. “The kids are wonderful and I love looking after them,” she says.

But joy was in short supply the day she received an AWA from her boss at Impact Services - a group home for high-needs kids in Blacktown - with directions to sign and return it.

"There was no mention of any sort of negotiation, it was just handed out to all the staff," she says. "I read through it and tried to compare it to the SACS (Social and Community Services) Award but it didn't stack up."

Large contacted the Australian Services Union in July to help decipher the document.

The AWA offered by Impact significantly undercut award conditions in several areas, says ASU secretary Sally McManus.

It offered no provision for annual incremental wage increases - unlike the award, which provides for increases over the next three years - and there was a complete reworking of shift penalties and annual leave loadings.

"It would have meant significant reductions in people's take-home wages," McManus said.

After discussions with Impact employees, union representatives held a meeting with management during which they agreed to withdraw the AWA.

"Nobody wanted to sign an agreement which undercut their conditions, they were quite happy with the award. But our members didn't feel the situation would be resolved by simply refusing to sign, they wanted the AWA withdrawn," McManus said.

Large, who attended the meeting with management to represent staff, is proud of her role in beating the AWA.

"It was very messy but everyone stuck together and we had a big win. I want to let other people know they can be supported by the union and they don't have to put up with this."

But victory came at a cost to Large. Employed as a casual, she had regularly been working 76 hours a fortnight.

After she involved the union in the AWA dispute her hours were gradually cut back to just two per fortnight, forcing her to find a new job.

"I can't afford to be without a job, but I've found new employment and I'm very happy where I am."


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