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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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Unionist Targeted for Deportation

Companies using the federal government's controversial Section 457 visas are targeting trade unionists for deportation.

The revelation confirms Canberra has been green-lighting the importation of guest workers on contracts that breach Australian law and human rights conventions.

Workers Online has sighted a contract, signed by a guest worker sacked after breaking both writst at work, that makes union membership a deportable offence.

It backs up the claims of numerous ripped off immigrant workers that they were forbidden from joining a union as a condition of entry to Australia.

Workers Online first revealed the development, in March 2003, when South African tradesmen were adamant they had been barred from union membership by agents that arranged their visas.

They complained after being farmed out to sites around WA by a labour hire company, associated with the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where some earned less than a third the rates of Australians working alongside them.

Confirming the union ban, at the time, spokesman Ronald Oliveira, likened their situation to "slavery".

Now, hard evidence is available, that agents in the Philippines and China are also forcing guest workers to sign agreements that undercut their human rights.

"Under no circumstances shall the employee participate in riots, strikes, political, union or radical religious activities," reads a clause in the contract Fu Zhi Hong signed with Shanghai Overseas Employment Service.

Article 6 of the document, states Fu Zhi Hong will be in "breach of contract" if he organises or incites political activities "such as strikes".

The same contract obliges the worker to pay the agent approx $A27,000 for its services, and prescribes a minimum annual income of $38,000, including overtime, for his four years in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald, this week, reported that another contract, signed by a Filipino, nominated "insubordination" and "engaging in trade union activities" as grounds for dismissal.

Unions have renewed their calls for tens of thousands of workers, imported on Section 457 visas, to be granted Australian rights, conditions and pay.

"The treatment of these people is a national disgrace," AMWU official, Jim Reid, said. "They are being ruthlessly exploited and the government does nothing about it.

"By doing nothing, it is giving license to the worst employers in Australia. "

Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, told the West Australian newspaper, earlier this year, that Section 457 visas were being used to hold down wage rates.


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