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Issue No. 331 03 November 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

From Green House to Glass House
History tells us that towards the end of most reigns of power the regime stops listening to the people, stops talking to them and reverts to crushes dissent. Events this week suggest this is where the Howard Government is now.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Common Ground
Nature Conservation Council director Cate Faehrmann on the fight against global warming and how unions and greens can learn from each other.

Industrial: A Low Act
The Low Paid. The Fair Pay Commission knows who pays them. We can do something about it as they will not.

Unions: The Number of the Least
Forget 666 - 457 is looming as the scariest number for Aussie workers and their families, Jim Marr writes.

Politics: The Smoking Gun
Hayek's henchman, Raplph Harris, goes to free market heaven, writes Evan Jones

Economics: Microcredit, Compulsory Superannuation and Inequality
They are supposed to ensure the wealth of well-being of individuals. Whats wrong with that? asks Neale Towart

Environment: Low Voltage
Nuclear Power and Prime Ministerial pronouncements are seriously short of a few volts, wrties Neal Towart

History: The Art of Social Justice
Tom Martin was a terrific cartoonist and part of a great tradition in labour movement history and culture, swrties Neale Towart.

Review: Work’s Unhealthy Appetite
It pays the bills – usually – but going to work should come with a warning, wrties Jackie Woods.

Culture: A Forgotten Poet
There is little information on the public record about the radical working class poet Ernest Antony, writes Rowan Cahill.

N E W S

 Godfrey Hirst Carpets Workers

 Lies, Damned Lies and the Shirkin' Gherkin

 Guests Share Backpay Bonanza

 Win, Win for Filipinos

 Honey, They Shrunk Our Pay

 No Sex Thanks, We're Asian

 Green Jobs to Beat Climate Change

 They're Going Out The Door

 Medibank Staff Go Under Knife

 Thompson Slams Door on Delo

 Merchant Bankers Pull Entitlements Stroke

 Green the New Black

 Councils Fight Off Shoring

 Acitivists Notebook

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Robbo Goes Green
John Robertson's speech to the Walk Against Warming

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West takes a look at a former public institution and its contribution to NSW.

L E T T E R S
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News

Win, Win for Filipinos


Unions have saved three Filippino welders from deportation and won them $200 a week wage increases for good measure.

The three men faced deportation, under federal government guest labour rules, after they blew the whistle on exploitation at labour hire company, Dartbridge Engineering, and joined a union.

The trio made headlines when they told Australians they were getting just $27,000 a year all-in for 55-hour weeks as skilled welders, and were being fleeced up to $1400 a week for bunk accommodation in a standard three-bedroom suburban house.

As the men were explained their circumstances on national television, they started fielding calls from distressed wives in the Philippines warning them they would be sacked.

The following day, Dartbridge sacked the trio.

Federal 457 visas tie "guest workers" to sponsoring employers. If they lose that sponsorship, for whatever reason, they are deported.

Unions have been warning the federal government about the unfairness of that system, since two South African chefs were booted out of the country after filing six-figure wage claims against a Manly eatery, back in 2002.

The AMWU has been using its contacts in the Brisbane engineering sector to try to prevent that fate befalling the Filipinos.

Today, relieved Queensland branch official Danny Dougherty confirmed all three had been taken on by another company on award conditions.

"They've all got jobs as first class welders," Dougherty said. "They start next week and whatever they earn will go to them and their families.

"On the basic award, they'll get at least $200 a week more than they were receiving at Dartbridge. On top, they'll get penalty rates, shift loadings, annual leave, sick leave and tool allowance - the same as everybody else.

"We're very pleased for these guys because they had the guts to stand up and expose the rorts that this system encourages.

"Australians should ask themselves if they are happy with a system that exploits workers from Third World countries to drive down the wages and conditions of everybody."


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