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Issue No. 329 20 October 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Sucking the Oranges
Every three years the Australian union movement comes together for a gathering that is part policy forum, part Jamboree, the ACTU Congress.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 Bananas in the Mail

 Dragons Slay St George

 Collective Contracts Still Rule

 Boeing Bombs Individual Contracts

 Multis Raid Nest Eggs

 "Guests" Stood Over, AMWU

 Aunty Off the Air

 Ban Ki-Moon, Koreans Warn

 Super Shafting at Telstra

 Qantas IT calls Bangalore home

 Three Question Method

 AWAs: Kids Stuff

C O L U M N S

Parliament
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

Culture
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.

L E T T E R S
 Thanks Betina
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News

Super Shafting at Telstra


Nearly 2000 Telstra staff face a cut in superannuation employer contributions that could leave them tens of thousands of dollars worse off.

1800 Telstra staff who are currently members of the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS) face an uncertain future once the Government sells its remaining shares in the company, despite years of loyal service.

Once the fire sale is complete, Telstra employees who are members of the CSS will cease to be 'eligible employees' for the purposes of the Superannuation Act 1976 and will no longer be able to contribute to the CSS.

Employer super contributions will be slashed in some cases by nearly ten percent, reducing pensions or the loss of tens of thousands of dollars for those electing to receive a lump sum payment upon retirement.

Finance Minister Nick Minchin had previously stated that "superannuation conditions (for employees) would continue once the company was sold by the Government."

However the Government refused to support Opposition legislation that would have guaranteed existing super conditions for employees through transitionary arrangements.

For their part, Telstra is refusing to compensate any lost contributions or set up an alternate scheme that would mirror CSS conditions.

In a situation that illustrates the poisonous relationship between the Government and Telstra management, both are blaming each other for the super stuff-up.

An ACTU legal team is now examining the options available to the workers and is seeking talks with the company and major shareholder.

CPSU National Secretary Stephen Jones has called for Telstra and the Government to work with unions to sort the mess out.

"Both Telstra and the Government are trying to wash their hands of these loyal employees. This is no reward for years of service," he said.

"As for the Government, they have a clear responsibility to honour the commitments they have publicly made to these workers. Maybe Nick Michin might consider how he would feel if someone tried to cut his generous superannuation package," Jones said.


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