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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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Historic Case Restores Security

A record criminal prosecution against a security company employer has restored financial security to 31 loyal employees who worked for several weeks even though their boss wasn’t paying them.

The LHMU Security Union won its largest prosecution in the Brisbane Magistrates Court against Quest Security and its executive officer Steve Jackson for more than $330,000.

Brisbane Magistrate Ehrich fined Jackson and Quest Security $127,200 for 53 separate offences, ordered they pay almost $200,000 in unpaid wages and superannuation and a further $3,500 in court costs.

On default, Jackson faces the seizure and sale of his assets. On further default, he could face up to four and a half years in jail.

Many employees suffered extreme financial hardship unable to pay rent, home and car loan repayments. Some even forced to borrow money from family and friends just to make ends meet.

Former employee, Nathan Applebee, told the court he couldn't afford petrol to get to work and regular payments from his bank account bounced costing even more in dishonour fees.

"I used to be able to take my wife out to dinner and the movies, but that had to stop," he said.

Queensland LHMU Branch Secretary Ron Monaghan says the record prosecution highlighted the dangers facing lower-paid workers and the support they can find through being part of a strong union.

"These guys worked without being paid and their loyalty was repaid with nothing," Monaghan says.

"There is no way they could have taken this action to recover their pay by themselves and it would have cost them tens of thousands of dollars to hire a solicitor to do it for them."


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