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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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Guestworkers Off the Menu

Four Canberra restaurants have been banned from using imported guest workers after the LHMU blew the whistle on their exploitation of 30 Filipino chefs.

The Immigration Department imposed two and three years on the restaurants in response to a year-long campaign by the LHMU Hospitality Union.

Three of the restaurants are also being prosecuted by the Office of Workplace Services over unpaid wages and breaches of workplace law.

Pangaea, Zefferellis, Holy Grail and Milk and Honey were all caught out underpaying Filipino kitchen workers brought to Australia under the Federal Government's scandal-prone 457 migrant visa scheme.

One of the restaurants had the idea of bringing Filipino chefs to Australia, then drummed up business at the other restaurants and brought the chefs out as a job lot, said LHMU ACT organiser David Bibo.

The Filipinos were paid a gross annual wage of $29,000 - well below award and industry standard rates - for working 60-hour weeks. Bibo said they were also abused and threatened with deportation.

The Federal Magistrates Court has ordered Holy Grail to pay $70,000 in unpaid wages, while decisions are still to be announced on wage recoveries from Pangaea and Zeffirellis.

Those three restaurants are also being further prosecuted and face possible penalties of hundreds of thousands of dollars over other breaches of the law.

None of this action would have occurred without the union's vocal and vigorous campaign, or the Filipinos' courage to stand up for their rights, said Bibo.

"Unfortunately, exploitation in the hospitality industry is still widespread, despite all the publicity this case has attracted," said Bibo.

Hospitality workers are commonly paid as little as $10 an hour, he said.

"Employers just seem to have trouble with the concept of paying people correctly."


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