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Issue No. 333 17 November 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Altered States
OK, so it wasn't unpredictable to see the High Court bow down at the altar of expanded federal powers this week, but in ruling this way our most senior judges have betrayed something more profound.

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

 Westpac Banks on Aussies, No Joshing

 Coal Miners Go Green

 TAFE Chiefs Want WorkChoices Cut

 “Elephant” Knocks Over Unicentre

 Bosses Strike Fair Deals

 NSW Swings to Rights

 Sparks Fly Over Electrical Interference

 States Quarantine Remaining Rights

 Carpeted Victorians Fight AWAs

 Golden Geese Rule - Have a Gander

 Super Result for Industry Funds

 Smithfield Packers Shelved

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
 Billionaires Club
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Carpeted Victorians Fight AWAs


Three hundred Victorian textile workers who risk losing redundancy entitlements and award conditions are furious the Federal Government has not protected their rights after their employer went into receivership.

"Like everyone else, they saw the ads that said 'protected by law' on transmission of business," said textiles union (TCFUA) state secretary Michele O'Neil.

"They've had generations of hard-won collective union agreements. They can't believe that overnight their employer the company is exploiting WorkChoices to get out of giving them what they're owed."

Godfrey Hirst Australia, which is purchasing carpet-maker Feltex's operation, has insisted the workers sign AWAs which get rid of most of the award conditions included in the Feltex union collective agreement, which doesn't expire until mid-2007.

The AWAs reduce a host of entitlements including redundancy, maternity leave and annual leave; as well as giving the employer greater power to stand workers down and unilaterally change their duties.

Godfrey Hirst clams it will be free of redundancy or severance pay obligations if workers refuse to sign the AWAs.

The TCFUA is fighting Godfrey Hirst in the Federal Court and the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, arguing it is unlawful to force people from a current collective union agreement onto an AWA.

Meanwhile, the workers are attracting support at home and abroad. The ACTU has thrown its weight behind the campaign, with secretary Greg Combet meeting the workers this week.

"The Federal Government promised that under its IR laws workers' pay and conditions would be protected for 12 months following the transmission of business to a new owner," he said.

"But Godrey Hirst has joined the list of an increasing number of employers using the new laws to cut workers conditions when they take over an existing business.

New Zealand Feltex workers have delivered petitions to management in support of their Australian colleagues.


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