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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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City or the Bush? It’s Telstra’s Call

A change in the definition of what makes a rural job has led to pay cuts of $25,000 per annum for more than 100 Telstra sub-contractors.

Under the new guidelines, ‘regional work’ is now defined as being within 30 kilometres of a town centre rather being based on the services available at the work site, such as guttering and street lamps.

The subbies from Downer, which provides technical work for Telstra in regional areas, are now refusing some work in the bush saying they cannot afford it.

CEPU Organiser Shane Murphy said Telstra had changed the definition of what makes a rural job, forcing down rates from $105 per job to $80. He said Telstra also reduced the rate for telephone installations where lines already exist from $87 to $38.

But the Telco is washing its hands of the decision, attempting to hide behind complex contractual arrangements with Downer.

"Telstra is hiding behind these contract arrangements to try to escape blame for this shabby treatment," Murphy said.

"The truth is, they are the ones who are moving the goalposts and reducing rates."

Murphy said the sub-contractors would continue to refuse rural work on a case-by-case basis until rates were restored.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow backed the subcontractors' campaign.

"It is wrong for Telstra to unitlaterally decide on the pay rates for sub-contractors," Burrow said.

"Surely the subbies should be entitled to negotiate directly with the company they do all their work for."

Burrow said the Howard Governments Independent Contractors Act, currently before Parliament, would make it even easier for companies like Telstra to push workers out of the industrial relations system.


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