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Issue No. 334 24 November 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

It’s Who The Economy Works For, Stupid
As the movement prepares for the National Day of Action on November 30, we embark on the third, final and, perhaps most difficult phase of the Rights at Work campaign.

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

 OWS: Cash for Query Scam

 Watchdog Bites Own Pups

 Silver Lining to Qantas Storm

 Wages Heading South Under WorkChoices

 Hardies Finally Coughs Up

 Face Up to Save Harbour

 STOP PRESS: Workers Docked for Meeting Pollies

 Telstra Redundancies ‘Inhumane’

 AWAs Carpeted

 Contracts Shut Down

 ILO Gets Tough on Forced Labour

 Houston Win Sparks Hope for New Era

 Full List of November 30 Venues

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

Hardies Finally Coughs Up


After six years of campaigning and two and a half years of intensive negotiations, unions and asbestos victims groups have secured a final deal from James Hardie to compensate Australian victims of its asbestos products.

Hardie and the NSW Government this week signed a tax office approved, Amended Final Funding Agreement which will see the first payments to the asbestos compensation fund as soon as next February.

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet has welcomed the final deal, which will see the company pay in excess of $4.5 billion into a fund to compensate current and future Australian victims of its asbestos products.

"The only thing left to do now before James Hardie commences paying money into the fund is for the agreement to be voted on by James Hardie shareholders which we understand will occur in February next year," Combet says.

"This has been a long and at times difficult campaign but today I am more confident then ever that we will achieve our objective of getting some justice for asbestos victims, said Mr. Combet.

Following its approval by James Hardie shareholders, the Amended Final Funding Agreement would see James Hardie make an initial payment of around $185 million into the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund with further regular payments to be made over the minimum 40 year life of the agreement.

"This agreement balances the need to provide justice and proper compensation for the Australian victims of James Hardie Asbestos products with the need to ensure the company can continue as a commercially successful business.

"I am very proud of the role that Australian unions have played in securing this agreement," Combet says.

Asbestos Halts Bunny Warren

Meanwhile, work on the South Syd Rabbitohs' new home at Redfern Oval was halted when more than 100 tonnes of asbestos-contaminated soil was found during excavation.

More than 40 pieces of asbestos, some more than eight inches in size, were found.

CFMEU NSW C&G divn asst sec Brian Parker says one piece of asbestos had been found before demolition work started. The contractor had no asbestos-related safe working procedures in place, Parker said.


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