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Issue No. 326 29 September 2006  
E D I T O R I A L
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

 Death Sites Under Construction

 Bank Pledge - Safe as Houses

 Brush Big Business: Keating

 Sydney the New Mumbai

 CFMEU Blocks Vets Sale

 Workers Go Cattle Class

 Pay for Work Scheme Floated

 Howard Blesses His Brethren

 Uni Flunks AWA Test

 Minchin Takes Back Door Route

 Solid Group Goes Grassroots

 Shrinking Act

 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
 Seditious Intention
 Botched Surgery
 Values Call
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Sydney the New Mumbai


Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone has demolished the last defence of her guest worker scheme by allowing 160 Japanese workers to be paid $6,000 less than the legal minimum.

After accusing critics of the section 457 scheme of xenophobia, Vanstone is posed to approve an application by American Express to ship in workers for its Sydney call centre, claiming it can't find Aussies to do the work.

The NSW government and unions are opposing the plan, which would see the workers paid under the legal minimum of $41,000, arguing that if the wages were decent, locals would do the job.

The $41,000 minimum has been the centrepiece of Vanstone's defence of the scheme, claiming it e3nsures that foreign workers are not exploited.

But NSW industrial relations minister John Della Bosca says businesses who train their staff and pay Australians Australian rates are also being disadvantaged.

"Local firms can't compete with companies paying well under market rates," Della Bosca says. "And Australians can be forced into signing substandard agreements because they know they will be replaced by someone on a 457 visa if they don't."

The case has put the spotlight back on the assault on Australian wages and conditions in the fiancé industry, with the 'off shoring' of some jobs and the 'on shoring of others.

Finance workers have called on the Prime Minister to personally convene an industry wide forum on the future of the finance industry.

"In one corner we have banks like Westpac looking at sending work off-shore to drive wages down - and now we have Amex wanting to bring foreign workers in under the bogus guise of the skills shortage," FSU antional; secretary Paul Schroder says.

"The reality is there are no shortage of Japanese speaking people who would take on a secure job, provided it delivered a decent wage."

"The finance industry is at a crisis point and more than 100,000 secure Australian jobs could be lost over the next five years if there is no national leadership on the industry.

"If the government just sits back and allows jobs to be sent off-shore and cheap foreign labour to come on shore there will be very few viable careers left in the industry.

The FSU has written to the Prime Minister seeking his personal intervention to convene an industry forum, as well as support for consume protection ''right to know' laws that would require banks to inform customers when personal information is sent offshore.


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