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Issue No. 330 27 October 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

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

 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

 Activists

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
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News

Hollow Victory for Low Paid


Unions have welcomed this week's wage ruling awarding the lowest-paid workers an extra $27.36 a week.

But the ruling of the Fair Pay Commission - a body set up by John Howard to replace the wage-setting function of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission - should be celebrated cautiously, said Unions NSW secretary John Robertson.

"It's the first pay increase in 18 months, in that time interest rates have risen three times and petrol prices have skyrocketed," said Robertson.

"It still represents a decrease in real wages; $30 a week was required to maintain wages for the low paid.

"Federal workers will fall behind those employed under NSW awards who have received regular increases in line with or above inflation determined by an independent umpire.

"There is no guarantee of when future pay rises will be granted. This decision does nothing to allay our concerns that the so-called Fair Pay Commission is a tool to drive down the minimum wage in real terms."

The ACTU said the decision was a victory for union campaigning and a slap in the face for employers, who had argued for just $14 a week for minimum wage workers.

In Australia almost two million workers earn minimum wages, with many working in child care, aged care, labouring, clerical services, the retail and hospitality sectors, and agriculture.

The new minimum wage will apply from December 1.


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