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Issue No. 327 06 October 2006  

The Road to Bangalore
A funny thing is happening as the major corporations plan their latest heist on the Australian public � the off shoring of an estimated two million white collar jobs to low cost countries like India.


Interview: Cowboys and Indians
Finance Sector Union national secretary Paul Schroder is standing between the big banks and a bucket of money.

Industrial: Seven Deadly Sins
Chris Christodoulou gives seven reasons why WorkChoices is bad for business

Unions: The IT Factor
The future of Australian IT looks grim as big companies lead the rush to India and China, writes Jackie Woods.

Politics: Bargain Basement
Simple principles of democracy underpin the ACTU's collective bargaining proposal, insists ACTU Secrteary Greg Combet.

Environment: An Inconvenient Hoax
Al Gore may be warning of climate breakdown, but what hope the truth when he's up against such a well-oiled machine? asks Paul Sheridan

Corporate: Two Sides
Bilateral trade agreements are a good idea � just ask the US multinationals. The rest of us should strongly disagree says Pat Ranald

International: Unfair Dismissals
Nearly 10,000 workers were fired for their trade union activities in 2005, an annual trade union survey shows.

History: A Stitch in Time
Neale Towart takes some lessons from female textile workers while considering the case for recognition ballots.

Review: The Wind that Shakes the Barley
A film charting the turmoil of the Irish war for independence against British occupation during the 1920s might seem an odd choice for top honours at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.


 OWS Blesses Tassie Plunder

 Feds Knew About Wage Slashing

 Data Farmers' Bitter Harvest

 Umpire Delivers to Posties

 It's a Goal - Compass Out-Pointed

 Childcare Giant Goes Union

 Meat Head Jumps The Queue

 AWAs � Thanks a Million

 Vets� Fight On

 TB Threat From FoC Ship

 Hamberger in Cancer Blue

 AMWU Challenges Forced Deportation

 Let�s Dance � Andrews Get Hot

 Legal Centres Under Threat

 Activists Notebook


The Westie Wing
Ian West takes a walk around the backyard with the Prime Minister�

The Soapbox
Rise Up
Hugo Chavez's explosive address to the United Nations

The Fear Factor
A new analysis of the history of fear takes us from the war on terror all the way to the modern workplace.

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OWS Blesses Tassie Plunder

John Howard's Office of Workplace Services is endorsing an oil company's move to strip up to $200 a week off Tasmanian employees.

United Petroleum, owned by Victorians Avil Silver and Eddie Hirsch, used WorkChoices to drastically undercut award minimums without giving workers at 13 gas stations any say.

Their weapon of choice was an Employer Greenfields Agreement, invented by the Howard Government.

Silver and Hirsch used it to undercut minimum award payments, eliminate overtime, penalty rates and allowances, and deny the existence of statutory holidays.

Their "Agreement" gives no security to employees, at least one of whom has a wife, child and a mortgage. It specifies neither minimum nor maximum hours of work.

It over-rides every one of the award conditions, the Howard Government promised would be "protected by law".

Clause 17 of the Agreement reads:

"For the avoidance of doubt, all protected award conditions under section 354 of the Act and both preserved entitlements under clause 34 and preserved notional terms under clause 45 of Schedule 8 of the Act are excluded by this Agreement."

It then goes on to list "protected" or "preserved" conditions that won't apply in Tasmania. Specifically ...

- rest breaks

- incentive payments and bonuses

- annual leave loadings

- observance of days declared as public holidays

- expenses incurred in the course of employment

- allowances for skills or responsibilities

- loadings for overtime or shift work

- penalty rates

David Hurd, a 32-year-old Dad, blew the whistle in the Hobart Mercury, saying the non-negotiable deal would have cost him more than $150 a week.

He said United was slashing his base hourly rate by $3.50, and taking more than $8 an hour off his weekend earnings.

Hurd worked at the Bridgewater service station in Greenpoint Rd for a year. It was one of several swooped on by the cut-price operators at the end of June.

United is also in control at former Mobil outlets in Argyle St, Hobart; Brooker Ave, Lutana; Sandy Bay Rd, Sandy Bay; Alexander St, Shearwater; Main Rd, Sorell; Rosny Hill Rd, Tasman; and Rockeby Rd, Wentworth.

Hurd and former workmates Jason Tonks, 23, Brett Carr, 42 and Rebecca Carr, 21, told the Mercury they walked away from their jobs because they couldn't afford to stay.

Hurd said the new operator refused to negotiate.

"It was a take-it-or-leave it situation," he said.

Despite that, and United still employing Tasmanians under the original Norvac name, the Office of Workplace Services says its actions are ridgey didge.

OWS spin doctor, Leo D'angelo Fisher, said Norvac, "as new operators of the Bridgewater service station, had lawfully established an Employer Greenfields Agreement.

"OWS concluded that Norvac Pty Ltd had not breached the Workplace Relations Act or Regulations."

The AMWU, Unions Tasmania and the ACTU are seeking negotiations with United Petroleum.


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