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Issue No. 330 27 October 2006  

Fair Weather Friends
This week’s decision by the Orwellian Fair Pay Commission may have surprised some with its seemingly generous quantum, but in doing so it also reinforced the union movement’s central criticism of the new wage fixing structure.


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.


 Unhappy Campers in Court

 Gran Backs Beazley

 Aunty Strikes at Lakemba Mosque

 Boeing Clause Flies

 Rissole Burns Joint Venture

 US Workers Bush Whacked

 Community Volunteers for Heavy Lifting

 Gong Sounds for Rogue Uni

 ANZ Banks on India

 Hollow Victory for Low Paid

 Life Education for Apprentices



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

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.

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Unhappy Campers in Court

Four Indian building workers are camping at a Lidcombe union office after being booted out of bunk accommodation for refusing to sign wage-cutting AWAs.

The quartet - crane operators and metal fabricators - are fighting back from a double blow inflicted by John Howard's IR regime.

They were sacked last week after refusing to sign AWAs that would have cut their wages by $3 an hour, or more than $100 a week, according to the CFMEU.

Today, they appeared in the Federal Magistrate's Court, arguing they had been unlawfully dismissed by a Villawood-based company.

The four men arrived from Singapore a month ago on controversial 457 'skilled migration' visas. They paid $10,000 each to secure jobs, and agreed to the deduction of another $100 a week to live in crowded bunk accommodation at a factory.

CFMEU NSW secretary, Andrew Ferguson, said the demand for further wage cuts had pushed the men to seek union assistance.

"This is a clear case of an unscrupulous employer using the Howard Government's guest worker scheme and radical workplace laws in tandem to exploit foreign labour rather than employing Australian workers on appropriate pay rates and conditions," Ferguson said.

Sacked worker Rajan Kandasamy said the workers had been lied to over the conditions they would enjoy in Australia.

"I gave up a job in Singapore to come here," he said. "They told me it would be a good job, with good money and that we would live in very good accommodation and have food provided," said Kandasamy.

"I feel I was tricked, because after I paid thousands of dollars to come here for this work I was told I must sign the new agreement, but I knew there was something wrong with it."

The four workers want their jobs back on their original conditions.


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