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Issue No. 325 22 September 2006  

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.


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.


 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


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.

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

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

 Fair Crack
 Aussie Values DOA
 It’s Not Cricket
 Kim’s New Platforms
 Reaping What You Sow
 Roll Out the Tanks
 Auntie Hijacked
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It’s A Secret: Ballot Boosts ABC Campaign

Organisers of Thursday’s nation-wide strike at the ABC would like to issue a special thankyou – to none other John Winston Howard, architect of the IR changes designed to weaken unions and undermine working conditions.

Where unions could previously organise a strike on the strength of a show of hands they must now hold a secret ballot of members, a strategy designed to undermine union solidarity. In this case, it backfired.

"All credit to John Howard, we've actually been very much empowered by the secret ballot," said Graeme Thomson of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU).

The CPSU and the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), who cover 2,500 ABC employees between them, each conducted secret ballots through the Australian Electoral Commission as required by new industrial laws.

Unions had to provide details of their memberships to the AEC, to be matched with employment records held by the ABC. Forms were sent to union members' homes, completed in secret and returned.

The results were unequivocal. Both ballots had return rates of over 75 percent, with over 90 percent of returns voting 'yes' to the 24-hour strike.

While the logistics of confirming union members' details - some of which hadn't been updated when members changed job or address - were a headache, the results were brilliant, said MEAA's Mark Ryan.

"With a show of hands arrangement you can always be accused of just attracting union and rabble and intimidating people, but this is a genuine, government-endorsed strike. It gave us the moral high ground."

Thursday's strike attracted a strong level of support around Australia, with very few staff reporting for work and managers going on air to maintain a skeleton news service.

The results provided for some horrendous broadcasting, and would strengthen the hand of unions as they continue to campaign for a new collective enterprise agreement, Thomson said.

Management has offered a sub-inflation pay rise of 3 percent, partly funded by cuts to existing penalties and allowances.

"People are really annoyed, it's a feeling of betrayal, it's a statement that their management don't value them," Thomson said.

"Rates of pay at the ABC have seen a 16 percent reduction in real terms over the past 10 years."


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