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Issue No. 355 01 December 2006  

Seven Year Itch
For the past seven years, over 335 issues, Workers Online has been chronicling events in the labour movement and passing our judgments on all things union.


Interview: Flying High
The Australian international Pilots Association has rejoined the ACTU and president Ian Woods is taking it into new airspace.

Unions: TUF on Toll
As transport giant Toll expands across the region, unions are working together to boost their bargaining power, writes Jackie Woods.

Industrial: Forward to the Past
Anti-union building laws draw their inspiration from a century ago, writes Neale Towart

Economics: Debt and the Economy
Household debt is at record levels. Interest rates are rising. Production of real things is not increasing. The military generates most demand. How long can it go on?

Obituary: The Charlatanry of Milton Friedman
Evan Jones busts some myths about the grand-daddy of free market economics

Environment: Low Voltage
Nuclear Power and Prime Ministerial Pronouncements are seriously short of a few volts, writes Neale Towart

Legal: The Fair Deal
Anthony Forsyth proposes a social partnership agenda for Australia

Review: A Little History
The Little History of Australian Unionism is exactly that; fifteen thousand words on the topic, writes Rowan Cahill.


 Global Campaign for Jailed Iranian Union Leader

 Bully Tactics Can’t Dull Protests

 Which Bank Slashes Work Rights?

 Sunday’s The Day For Future Rallies

 Carmel Saves Job, Loses Bonus

 Case Dismissed: No Justice in WorkChoices

 China (S)trains Procurement Policy

 Contracts Out on Sole Traders

 Car Companies Do The Dirty

 Historic Case Restores Security

 Final Hurdle for Medibank Sell-Off


The Soapbox
Address to the Nation
ACTU secretary Greg Combet's speech to the National Day of Action

The Westie Wing
Ian West recalls a time when the earth was flat, unions ran the country and Honest John Howard was the workers’ best friend.

Sick System
Punitive IR laws and a commercially-driven workers compensation scheme are conspiring to bully injured workers, writes Dr Con Costa.

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China (S)trains Procurement Policy

Companies doing business with the NSW Government will be forced to meet minimum employment standards, under a new purchasing policy.

But unions are still waiting for a broader policy on local content after a major train-building contract was awarded to a Chinese company.

The procurement policy, announced this week, requires businesses bidding for $3.4 billion in SNW government to show they:

- comply with state award conditions

- allow union access for recruitment

- open themselves to random inspections from the Office on Industrial Relations.

But the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has questioned the governments commitment to local industry, after it emerged hundreds of recently commissioned rail carriages will be largely built by a Chinese company.

A 3.6 billion contract was awarded two weeks ago to a Hunter Valley-based consortium headed by Downer EDI, the company responsible for building the Millennium trains.

The AMWU union says EDI will only be responsible for the design and the final fit-out of the carriages.

AMWU state secretary Paul Bastion told ABC he was bewildered that the government contract only required that 20 per cent of the carriages be built locally.

"Where is their commitment to local industry, what is the proper policy settings for local content, are they going to weigh up just as much the social benefits of large infrastructure jobs going to New South Wales companies as well as for the simple economic benefits?"

The NSW Government claims the carriages could not be built locally.


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