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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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Community Volunteers for Heavy Lifting

A Sydney crane company is parking its working vehicles on suburban streets in a bid to beat community opposition to its sacking of job delegate, Barry Hemsworth.

Botany Cranes sent Hemsworth packing nearly two months ago when he opposed a move to shift health and safety responsibilities onto individual employees.

Botany Cranes moved under Under WorkChoices provisions that exempt companies with less than 100 employees from having to justify sackings.

Hemsworth has been keeping his own vigil in a shed outside the company gates for the past 52 days.

The threat of heavy fines and prosecution under new industrial rules means the CFMEU can do little in the workplace to bring the rogue employer to heel.

But the company is facing growing community opposition, with three early morning blockades in as many weeks swelling Barry's one man Banksmeadow protest.

Organised through community network, Worker Solidarity, hundreds of workers, students and concerned members of the public have tried to blockade cranes from being dispatched to building sites around the city.

The tactic has spooked the owners of the multi-million dollar company into moving cranes out of the yard in the dead of night and parking them at secret locations around the suburbs.

The parking could land the company heavy fines if they attract the attention of council rangers.

With plans for a larger public rally and a community forum, Worker Solidarity's Rose Jackson told Workers Online that the campaign had only just started.

"There's been a great response with many people turning up as early as 5am to take action. We've got a really clear message for management at Botany Cranes: Give Barry back his job," she said.

"Barry appreciates the support and the company is feeling the pressure, having to secretly move the cranes out in the middle of the night."

"We're also telling business and the government that the community oppose these unfair workplace laws and are prepared to take action to defend our rights at work," she said.


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