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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

AWAs Carpeted


Three hundred Victorian textile workers are celebrating this week after the AIRC ruled they did not have to accept condition-cutting AWAs or risk losing their jobs without redundancy entitlements.

The workers were in limbo after their employer, Feltex, went into receivership and carpet giant Godfrey Hirst moved to take over - insisting the workers sign AWAs which watered down many of the conditions included in the current Feltex union collective agreement.

"I am not satisfied that the employment offered in the AWAs ... constitutes acceptable alternative employment," ruled senior deputy AIRC president Ian Watson.

The AWAs offered by Godfrey Hirst reduced 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.

The ruling meant Feltex staff would not face losing their jobs without receiving a redundancy payout if they didn't sign the AWAs, said Michele O'Neil of the textiles union (TCFUA).

"The company has tried to exploit WorkChoices. If they now want to get on with making carpets they should stop trying to reduce workers rights."

The workers want to continue being covered by their collective union agreement, which doesn't expire until mid-2007, O'Neil said.

The TCFUA is fighting Godfrey Hirst in a separate Federal Court in another action, arguing the workers are entitled to the protection of their current agreement in any transmission of business.


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