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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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Gong Sounds for Rogue Uni

A Wollongong employer, forced to backpay workers for an illegal lockout, is rejecting a 25-0 vote for a union negotiated agreement.

Unitcentre Ltd, at Wollongong University, is pushing itself to the front of the fight over workers rights to be covered by industrial instruments of their choices.

Choice was at the heart of the federal government's publicity blitz for AWAs until it admitted they could be forced on new starters, even when they undercut existing agreements.

Now it is as the core of ACTU policy, thrashed out at National Congress this week, that seeks the right for workers to vote on the agreement they want.

SDA secretary, Gerard Dwyer, said the Unicentre stand-off was a "classic example" of the need to "restore democracy to our workplaces".

"This company's actions in ignoring a unanimous vote of its employees highlights the importance of Kim Beazley's commitment to the right of Australians to vote for a collective agreement," Dwyer said.

Permanent staff at the facility voted unanimously for a union agreement at a meeting, last week.

But Unicentre, funded by student union fees, said no dice.

It is the latest development in a three-year battle by staff for a collective contract.

At one point, employees wearing union badges, were locked out.

Dwyer says a key issue is substantially different rates of pay for people doing similar work on campus.

"People want a union negotiated collective agreement and a bit of wage justice wouldn't go astray either," he said.

Unicentre's stance is backed by the federal government.

Prime Minister John Howard told Melbourne radio, last month: "Our position is very clear and that is that it's for the employer to determine the nature of the industrial arrangement in a workplace."

Howard publicly supported American multinational, Boeing, when it locked out Hunter Valley employees who wanted a collective contract.


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