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Issue No. 325 22 September 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

A Values Call
Opposition leader Kim Beazley has copped a bit of flak in the past week for his Aussie Values Pledge, but we reckon he got it at least half right.

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

 From Comrades to CUBs

 Workers Demand Right to Know

 Flying Kangaroo Eyes Passage to India

 It’s A Secret: Ballot Boosts ABC Campaign

 Brake WorkChoices, NSW Urged

 City or the Bush? It’s Telstra’s Call

 Compo Rights a Burning Issue

 2500 Get Coles Shoulder

 Hardie Payrise Stiffs Victims

 WorkChoices Reverse Somersault with Pike

 Qantas Workers Ground AWAs

 Latest Import: Childcare Workers

 Let Tem Eat Cake!

 Mugabe Thugs Mug Unionists

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
 Fair Crack
 Aussie Values DOA
 It’s Not Cricket
 Kim’s New Platforms
 Reaping What You Sow
 Roll Out the Tanks
 Auntie Hijacked
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

From Comrades to CUBs


The man who turned the Rugby League Professionals Association into a trade union has warned a proposed new deal to take NRL funding would sideline players’ industrial rights.

Recently retired RLPA secretary Tony Butterfield, a former Unions NSW organiser of the year, says the Association’s new leadership has failed to consult with members and doubts the proposal will be endorsed.

Butterfield says the Association risks trading off years of effort to secure a cash deal which is subject to so many conditions, it may never deliver the promised $320,000 per annum.

The RLPA's new leadership has signed a Heads of Agreement that sees the NRL guarantee an annual payment as part of an increase in the players' salary cap.

In return the RLPA agrees to deregister as a trade union, meaning it can not enforce its collective agreement in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

Butterfield, who has clashed head on with the NRL in his efforts to get the collective agreement registers sat out of the negotiations this time around but stayed on as the board in an advisory role. But he has resigned saying the new leadership has refused to take his advice.

"The problem with this agreement is that it undoes all the hard work in getting a collective agreement up, " Butterfield told Workers Online.

"Becoming registered as a union was the only accessible way of enforcing their rights, if this goes the only option is costly court action.

"Players like Craig Gower, who gave up his Dally M in 2003 are asking why the sacrifice is being traded off. I can't answer him.

"How can a union accept a deal that takes away the right to push a legally binding industrial agreement?

"Given that WorkChoices has weakened these rights, there was a case to have another look - but deregistering the organisation in this way is not solution."

Butterfield also sees the decision as a betrayal of the union movement that backed the association through the process of negotiating a deal.

"In my view, we owe a massive obligation to the union movement - we would never have achieved what we did - you just can't do this on your own."

Personally, Butterfield says the decision is a blow. "I'm gutted - my role was to advise the board because of my experience and they have ignored that advice - apparently I am now a trouble-maker.

But he takes heart from the fact the deal still has to be endorsed and provided the vote occurs during the season, players will ask questions and find the new agreement wanting. "That's what I'll be saying to anyone who cares to ask," he says.


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