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Issue No. 332 10 November 2006  

Affairs of State
For those of us on the left of politics it’s been a week where there is more joy in thinking global rather than focussing on the local.


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.


 Abrasive Giant Pinged on Sackings

 Offshoring Good for CV: Qantas

 Records of Convenience

 Construction Lives Going Cheap

 Suncorp in Dee Why Denial

 States Fall to Unions

 Bisshop Looking for Converts

 Guestworkers Off the Menu

 AAPT Hangs Up on Country Jobs

 Super Funds Fight Telstra Perks

 Taxing Times for Compo Cheat


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

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

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Abrasive Giant Pinged on Sackings

Picketers fighting for a collective agreement at Saint-Gobains have been buoyed by the reinstatement of two unlawfully sacked delegates.

Long serving NUW delegates, Jeff Gearin and Tony Seymour, were marked for the chop when the abrasives multinational tried to impose non-negotiated AWAs on staff at Lidcombe and Wetherill Park.

The pair, with 18 and 31 years service respectively, were made redundant as Saint-Govains used WorkChoices to deny workers the right to a collective agreement.

The NUW argued the pair had been victimised because of their union activism and the federal court, this week, ruled their dismissals had been unlawful.

Justice Buchanan said the company's retrenchment process had been "convenient mechanism" to achieve the selection of Seymour and Gearin.

"It's a great boost for everyone," said Mark Ptolemy from the NUW.

"Saint-Gobains used WorkChoices to refuse to negotiate, now there is a real sense that if workers back one another they can still win in this environment."

Gearin and Seymour had been involved in negotiations with the manufacturer when it marked their cards in September.

The company is trying to have the existing collective agreement terminated.

Thirty workers are protesting outside its Lidcombe plant while another dozen are on picket duty at Wetherill Park.

NUW members are also picketing Futuris Brakes at Wetherill Park.

The company, which manufactures locomotive brakes and holds the State Rail contract, refuses to enter negotiations on a new collective agreement and is also trying to impose non-negotiated AWAs.

Ptolemy said Futuris had had some success as workers got fed-up with the ongoing stand-off.

"The AWAs are slightly inferior on conditions and offer a bit of a sweetener on hourly rates," Ptolemy said, "they're about breaking down the ability of workers to defend their conditions into the future.

"It's unfortunate that some people haven't been able to see that, in the long-run, everyone loses under this system."


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