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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

Green the New Black


Businesses are using employer greenfield provisions introduced by the Howard Government this year to strip award entitlements and ban industrial action.

Almost 200 employer greenfield 'agreements' - business-wide employment deals where the terms are set unilaterally by the company before workers are hired - were lodged in the six months after laws allowing them were introduced in March.

Fast-growing franchise chains and building and engineering companies are the biggest users of the agreements, according to an analysis by the Australian Financial Review.

Food and restaurant chains including Starbucks, Health Habits and Jones the Grocer have lodged greenfield agreements allowing franchise business owners to replace award conditions like overtime and penalty rates with flat hourly rates.

Takeaway food chain Seaking Seafood's agreement gives workers $14.28 an hour and strips all award entitlements including overtime and shift penalties, uniform and laundry allowances, public holiday penalties and allows the employer to deduct uniform costs from pay.

Construction firms including John Holland, Barclay Mowlem and Thiess Services have included no-strike clauses and offered lump-sum payments for projects finished without industrial disruption in the so-called 'agreements'.

Once lodged, greenfield deals override any industrial awards which would otherwise apply. They remain valid for 12 months with the Government arguing they would encourage new business ventures.

But unions say businesses are taking advantage of the cost-cutting opportunities offered by greenfield deals by restructuring and transferring workers between different branches within a company.

Opposition leader Kim Beazley has promised to abolish the greenfield provisions if Labor wins office.


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