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Issue No. 328 13 October 2006  

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.


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.


 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


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.

 Honest John, Would You Like Lies With That
 The Unpromised Land
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AWB Sets New Low

The AWB is trying to get its product to market by paying Filipino seafarers barely half the internationally accepted minimum rate.

A ship, chartered by the Board, was stuck off South Australia this week when Filipinos refused to sail until pay and conditions were improved.

Sailors on board the Liberian-registered 'flag of convenience' ship Boreal had been paid just half the internationally accepted rate in more than six months at sea.

Eight crew members contacted the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) to complain about pay and conditions on the ship, which was loaded with 72,000 tonnes of Australian wheat destined for Sudan.

During a 24-hour standoff, the ship's German owners Orion Bulk Ships threatened to set sail and leave the eight Filipinos stranded at South Australia's Port Lincoln, said ITF's Australian coordinator Dean Summers.

In a resolution reached late Wednesday the sailors would be backpaid to the ITF minimum standard for developing world crews, and would be repatriated to the Philippines, Summers said.

Flag of convenience ships - owned by one country but registered in another to take advantage of lower tax and registrations standards - commonly operate with appalling labour practices as the crews are isolated at sea for many months, Summers said.

"Some of them are good ... But many of them are absolute pirates, and we see some of the worst ways bosses treat workers."

Companies chartering the ships share the responsibility for treatment of crew members, Summers said.

"Organisations like AWB, Rio Tinto and BHP charter many of these vessels. We've asked them to include in their contracts an ITF agreement for crew pay and conditions - all we want is for them to subscribe to minimum conditions."

As Workers Online went to press, a Panamian-flagged ship carrying pipes for the oil and gas fields off Western Australia was refusing ITF access on board at Henderson Port South of Fremantle.

"This must be one of the most profitable industries in the world, what have they got to hide in the treatment of their crew?" asked Summers.


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