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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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Boeing Clause Flies

“Majority rules” is at the heart of a sweeping rewrite of workplace rules being advocated for Australia.

Delegates at the triennial ACTU Congress want workers to be able to access a “majority rules” trigger in a bid to prevent bitter stand-offs like the one Boeing provoked at Newcastle, last year.

The American multinational ignored a vote by Williamtown engineers for a collective agreement and, rather than negotiate, locked them out for nine months.

ACTU delegates felt respect for a majority vote would be a circuit breaker in similar situations.

The ACTU is pressing the Labor Party to adopt its program - centred on collective bargaining, good faith negotiations and union recognition - in the run-up to next year's federal election.

It is also calling on affiliates to give until it hurts so it can ramp up its publicity campaign against Canberra's WorkChoices regime, based on individual contracts and the stripping of unfair dismissal rights.

ACTU secretary, Greg Combet, told delegates they needed to intensify their advertising campaign and maximise marginal seats activities.

Combet said he was "increasingly confident" unions could win their fight but more resources, on top of the $10 million already pledged, would be needed.

Surveys, from a variety of national polling organisations, have confirmed the ACTU's WorkChoices campaign is biting in the electorate.

The program, endorsed this week, is designed to take the campaign one step further by offering a concrete alternative.

Key elements include:

- the right of workers to determine the industrial instrument they are employed under by majority vote

- the scrapping of AWAs and employer greenfields agreements both of which allow employers to unilaterally undercut negotiated wages and conditions

- a requirement for good faith bargaining to be overseen by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission

- the removal of "prohibited content" which forbids employers and unions from including anything in an agreement that the Workplace Relations Minister disallows

- increased recognitions and support for elected union delegates

- the scrapping of contentious building industry-specific laws and the scrapping of the proposed Independent Contractors Act

- a jump-up clause that would stop labour hire workers being used as cheap labour on sites covered by existing awards or agreements

Meanwhile, the ACTU has launched a one-stop joining service that will allow Aussies to join unions by phone.

It has also unveiled a "supporters" category for retired people and those ineligible to join unions.

People can join the union movement, or register as supporters in the battle against WorkChoices, by ringing the ACTU call centre on 1300 486 466.


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