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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

Giant Catastrophe for Crew


A 'flag of convenience' ship that sank off the Japanese coast last week killing 10 crew members wasn't subject to appropriate safety checks at its last port of call - the privately owned Port Walcott in remote Western Australia.

Australian unions are joining the International Transport Workers Federation in calling on a full investigation into the sinking of the Panamian-registered Giant Step.

The ship - crewed by Indian nationals - was carrying 190,000 tonnes of iron ore to the Japanese port of Kashima when it sank. Fifteen crew members were rescued and of 10 others missing, three bodies have been found.

The International Ship and Port Security Code provides that under the international convention all crew must have access to visitors, shore leave and welfare providers.

But private ports like Port Walcott - operated by Pilbara Iron, majority owned by Rio Tinto - are barring welfare checks of crews, said Australian Workers Union national secretary Bill Shorten.

"As a country, we bear a responsibility to ensure seafarers who are transporting Australian goods around the world are working in safe conditions," Shorten said.

Pilbara Iron doesn't allow ITF welfare officers access to crews arriving at Port Walcott, said ITF Australian co-ordinator Dean Summers.

"The ITF have long held concerns for the welfare of crews in isolated ports who are a vital link in getting Australia's products to international markets," said Summers.

"When was this 21-year-old ship last checked by port state control to ensure it was sea worthy?"

The owners of Giant Step, the international shipping company MOL Line, has lost three ships in the past few months suggesting its vessels suffered serious safety problems, Summers.

"We are calling for a full investigation of what happened on this ship from the time it was loaded in Western Australia. The process of loading of 190,000 tonnes of rock is very important, to ensure it doesn't place to much strain on the ship."

Crew members from developing countries were being treated as expedient commodities, free of any support when they come into a privately-owned port, said Paddy Crumlin, national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia.


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