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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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AWAs – Thanks a Million

John Howard took time out from his Prime Ministerial schedule this week to celebrate lodgement of the millionth AWA.

By remarkable coincidence, the Adelaide disability services provider, Comrec - one of the businesses recruited to promote the individual contracts that are slashing pay and conditions- was recognised as registering the millionth document.

Howard and his WorkChoices Minister Kevin Andrews were lucky not to turn up to another well-known community service in Adelaide in the process of implementing individual agreements.

Staff at the Cancer Council of South Australia have been asked to sign individual agreements which significantly reduce their employment conditions and lock them into low wages for five years, said SA Unions Secretary Janet Giles.

The AWAs presented to Cancer Council staff include a 3.4% increase in working hours; a reduction of shift penalties, higher duty entitlements and sick leave; a pay rise of only one percent a year for five years; and requirements for employees to agree to do any work at any site and submit to a full medical examination at any time for any reason.

"When Prime Minister Howard promotes his Government's push to individual contracts, he won't be talking about the disadvantages workers at Cancer Council now face through the introduction of AWAs" said Giles.

Cancer Council workers are not exception to the AWA rule.

Conditions included in AWAs have been slashed since the introduction of Howard's new IR laws, which overturned the previous requirement that workers not be disadvantaged by an individual agreement.

According to its own AWA umpire, the Office of the Employment Advocate, two thirds of AWAs signed under WorkChoices have cut penalty rates, a third have cut overtime pay, half have ditched shift penalties and one-fifth have provided for no pay rise for workers - some for five years.

While one million AWA's have been lodged in the past decade, around one-third of those have expired or become otherwise invalid, says the OEA.

Only a few months ago, the OEA told Workers Online it had no idea how many AWAs were still in operation.

Unions estimate less than 500,000 are operative, less than five percent of the workforce, although WorkChoices changes mean they can now be force on all new starters.


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