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Issue No. 334 24 November 2006  

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.


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.


 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


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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Telstra Redundancies ‘Inhumane’

Telstra’s redundancy procedures have been blasted as inhumane by a senior judge of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

During a current hearing into the treatment of sacked designers at Coffs Harbour, Telstra asked Vice President Lawler to disqualify himself on the grounds of bias. VP Lawler acquiesced - taking the opportunity to sledge Telstra over its "unconscionable" treatment of loyal employees.

Referring to a case mid-year when Telstra made redundant a 50-year-old long-term employee who'd suffered a genuine work-related injury, VP Lawler remarked that:

"A decent employer would not throw this man onto the scrap heap after giving so many years of faithful service in circumstances where there was no complaint about his performance and he was only a few years short of qualifying for superannuated retirement ...

"Redundancies ought not be processed in a fashion like the assembling of McDonald's hamburgers.

"Given the thousands of positions within Telstra ... it was inconceivable that Telstra would not be able to find an alternative position if it really wanted to ... it was unconscionable to dismiss him without making serious efforts of redeployment."

In the current case, the communications union (CEPU) is representing four designers who were made redundant, only to have their positions filled with people on AWAs.

The CEPU is arguing Telstra didn't offer the opportunity to mitigate the negative impacts of redundancy, including the opportunity to 'job swap' - that is, have the affected workers moved to other positions and have the redundancies taken by willing people.

"The fact that they will not consider job swaps, that robs us of the opportunity to consult with them on measures to avert proposed retrenchments an don measures to mitigate the adverse effects," the CEPU's Dan Dwyer told the hearing.

Telstra manager Judith Wagner said job swaps were "not on the table" at Telstra.

In his decision to withdraw from the case, VP Lawler criticised Telstra's lack of flexibility in moving staff between business units.

"Telstra's different business units appear to treat themselves as independent businesses with formalistic inquiries as to vacancies ... not constituting a genuine attempt to locate an alternative position."


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