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Issue No. 333 17 November 2006  

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.


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.


 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


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.

 Billionaires Club
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Smithfield Packers Shelved

Employees at Australia Post's Smithfield warehouse fear they will lose their jobs or be forced onto worse conditions when their retail supply operation moves to new premises.

The Smithfield Retail Fulfilment Business Unit, where 36 employees prepare orders of stationery and other retail goods for post offices statewide, is set to join another Australia Post warehouse operation at Wetherill Park in March.

Morale at the Smithfield site has plunged, said union rep Blake Colbran.

"We don't trust management at all anymore because they haven't told us what's going on. We've been told there will be surplus staff but we haven't been given a new staff structure, so everyone fears they won't have a job past March," he said.

The warehouses at Smithfield and Wetherill Park are both operated by Australia Post's subsidiary business unit Post Logistics, but the Wetherill Park site was established only to store and handle goods for third party companies like department stores.

While Smithfield staff are employed under EBA 6, staff at the Wetherill Park site are on another enterprise agreement for Post Logistics third party work.

Despite promising to consult with the union over the conditions of the relocation, in October Australia Post unilaterally informed the Smithfield workers about the move and foreshadowed transferring them from EBA 6 onto the third party agreement or offering redundancy, said CEPU organiser TK Ly.

Union and Australia Post officials attended a conference at the Australian Industrial Relations Commission on 30 October, where management agreed to suspend the staff notification and renew consultations with the union.

The CEPU will fight any move to transfer the workers out of EBA 6, said Ly.

"Some of the people here have been here a very long time and no-one wants to go on to the new agreement. They're saying a base level worker will be better off, but for most people it will mean worse conditions," said Colbran.

Under the terms of EBA 6, Australia Post is not allowed to contract out Australia Post work, including the storage and supply of retail goods to post offices, which would prevent the workers being moved to the third party agreement.

Under new industrial laws, it will be difficult for the union to enshrine the same conditions into the next enterprise bargaining agreement, said Ly.

"But if this issue isn't resolved, we won't agree to recommend the new EBA7 to the members."


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