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Issue No. 328 13 October 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Straw Men
Somewhere between Bangalore and Surrey Hills a story about off shoring of Australian jobs got confused this week; unleashing a round of hand-wringing that speaks volumes about the political and commercial potency of this issue.

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

 Activists Notebook

 Money Walks Over Jobs

 Classifieds the New IR Attack Dog

 States Keep Stakes in IR Blueprint

 Meatworkers Boned by WorkChoices

 Tune Up for Radio Rentals

 Democracy Overboard in Bass Strait

 Unionist Targeted for Deportation

 Taxpayers Taken to the Cleaners

 Staff Sunk By Float

 AWB Sets New Low

 Heinemann Pushes the Envelope

 Giant Catastrophe for Crew

 Workers Lose Right to Choose Lawyers

 Skill Vouchers A Dud, AMWU

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
 Honest John, Would You Like Lies With That
 The Unpromised Land
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Meatworkers Boned by WorkChoices


Queensland meatworkers fear for their future after a major employer and dedicated supplier of meat to Coles supermarkets introduced condition-slashing AWAs.

Australian Country Choice, a Queensland meat production and processing company, recently overhauled its meat processing plant at Cannon Hill in the state's south-east to boost production of retail-ready trays of meat for Coles supermarkets.

"Coles appears to be moving out of butchering in the supermarkets more into a retail-ready products in a black tray," said Russell Carr, Qld secretary of the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Association.

"Australian Country Choice built the facility with the view to supplying most of NSW and then Queensland ... their sole market is Coles."

While several hundred existing employees of ACC are covered by an award-based enterprise agreement, 40 new workers at the revamped plant - half of whom are African migrants - were required to sign AWAs as a condition of employment, said Carr.

There are plans to employ up to 300 people at the site, he said.

The AWAs strip all entitlements aside from the basic sick and holiday leave guaranteed under WorkChoices for an hourly rate of $16.20 an hour - just 29c more than the lowest hourly rate in the enterprise agreement, said Carr.

"Under the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement the maximum number of hours is 10, as opposed to 12 on the AWAs. The AWAs set no normal hours, so the workers can be asked to work any time around the clock.

"There's no shift allowance or overtime, no holiday loading or public holiday penalties," said Carr.

"The workers spend a lot of time working in freezers, but the AWAs don't contain the cold temperature allowance included in the award."

AMIEU members - there are about 350 at Australian Country Choice - are fearful about what will happen when their enterprise agreement expires next year.

"They are very worried about what will happen if this legislation is still available to employers when the agreement expires," said Carr.


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