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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

OWS: Better Never Than Late


Three months after people importer, Gerry Hanssen, agreed to upgrade the wages and conditions of Filipino tradespeople, the OWS has launched an investigation.

The Kevin Andrews-controlled office confirmed, last week, it had seized the Western Australian builder's records.

But the action came more than a year after Western Australian unions, spearheaded by the CFMEU, blew the whistle on Hanssen's treatment of dozens of workers imported under four-year guest labour visas.

And it came three months after the builder agreed to upgrade pay rates and to provide holiday, redundancy and sick leave entitlements.

Hanssen builds apartments for the top-end of Perth's residential market.

He runs an aggressively non-union operation that undercuts going industry rates by hundreds of dollars a week.

He used labour hire to keep construction workers at arms length from his company then moved to an independent contracting arrangement, lashed by unions as a "sham".

Hanssen bolstered those strategies by hiring in labour from the Philippines, and other Asian countries, under the federal government's controversial Section 457 program.

The belated OWS investigation follows accusations that the WorkChoices-created body is a propaganda unit for federal government.

OWS "investigations" of workers who appeared in the ACTU's anti-WorkChoices campaign were leaked to the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

In every instance, the Office "found" against workers, although, in at least three cases, it didn't even speak to the people involved.

It green-lighted the Cowra Abattoir's action in sacking staff on binding contracts and then re-hiring them at substantially reduced rates.

The employer who won Office endorsement in that case is now being investigated by the corporate watchdog after administrators alleged millions of dollars had been moved to associated companies before the abattoir fell over.

The OWS still refuses to answer specific questions about its roles and responsibilities put by Workers Online, in writing, nearly two months ago.


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