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Issue No. 356 21 December 2006  

The End
In vintage Workers Online fashion we have detected a minor, but telling, factual error in last week�s missive/suicide note. It�s not a seven year itch � this is, in fact, the end of an eight year project.


Interview: The Terminator
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson looks back on the highs and lows of a year when the battle lines were drawn.

Industrial: Vive La Resistance
Jim Marr glances back through a year of news and discovers plenty of reason for optimism�

Unions: Breaking News
The web offered new ways of covering unions issues. Here�s ten ways Workers Online tried to do things differently.

History: Seven Deadly Sins
Looking back on our annual year-ender editorials gives a nice overview of the journey we have taken.

Economics: Back to the Future
Political economist Frank Stilwell looks back at a year that saw the passing of the drivers of two strains of economic thought.

Politics: Organising and Organisations
Organising for unionists can mean overcoming the �union�. The �rolling of the right� by the BLF rank and file shows the power of workers united to defeat the power of bosses and certain union bosses.

International: Web Retrospective
Unions and the web � What's changed in the last seven years? The short answer is � everything and nothing, wrties Eric Lee

Review: Shock Therapy
Unreconstructed Kazakhi journalist Borat is unleashed on the �US and A� offending everyone � except the bigots.


 High Flyers Go For Gold

 Hospital Staff Prescribe Radical Surgery

 Holland Goes Dutch on Safety

 New Thinking to Transport Sydney

 Check Mate - Track Your Personal Info

 WorkChoices on a Trolley

 See No Evil, OEA

 Feltex Carpets PM's Fibs

 Workers Blood on the Walls

 Lift For Unfair Dismissal Campaign

 No Discrimination on Choice

 Vanstone Opens New Meat Market

 Activists' Notebook


The Future
So Where to Now?
Amanda Tattersall outlines her plans for Working NSW and the challenge of connecting research, communications and campaigning.

Gone But Not Forgotten
Augusto Pinochet Ugarte (1915-2006). His memory is still being honoured, writes Jim Marr

The Westie Wing
Our favourite politician bids adieu and hangs up his chestnuts.

 Hit For Six
 Kind Words
 Sorely Missed
 All the Best
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Feltex Carpets PM's Fibs

John Howard's IR promises have been left threadbare by Feltex attempts to bludgeon 320 Melbourne workers onto condition-stripping AWAs.

The carpet giant is appealing to the IRC full bench against two decisions by individual commissioners that its non-negotiated AWAs are "not acceptable".

Meanwhile, the TCFUA will seek a federal court ruling that proposed employment contracts are "unlawful" because the only alternative on offer is the sack.

The actions of new Feltex owner, Godfrey Hirst, blow Howard's assurances to Australians out of the water on at least three counts.

- in a taxpayer funded advertising campaign, Howard promised existing conditions would be "protected by law" for 12 months after a business takeover. Godfrey Hirst has ditched the existing collective contract and is refusing to honour its redundancy provisions for staff who don't accept AWAs.

- Howard's whole WorkChoices campaign was based on the notion of "choice". Feltex workers aren't even being given the choice to honour a negotiated contract that doesn't expire for another nine months.

- Howard promoted AWAs by promising workers would be able to negotiate contracts that met individual circumstances. Individuals at Godfrey Hirst were served up one-size-fits-all documents and given no right to negotiate on any of their contents.

TCFUA secretary, Michelle O'Neill, says the WorkChoices assurances were "completely untrue".

"There was no protection for these people when the company was sold out from under them, none at all," she said.

"And they are being given no choice about AWAs - either their content or whether or not to accept them."

O'Neill estimates long-serving staff stand to lose as much as $100,000, on redundancy alone, if they refuse to sign Godfrey Hirst's documents.

In a corporate manoeuvre becoming familiar in Howard's Australia, receivers last week flicked off the Feltex assets to Geelong-based Godfrey Hirst and left employees in an insolvent shell.

O'Neill says the 320 staff have been "magnificent", sticking together and fighting for their agreement to be honoured.

They have voted unanimously to reject the AWAs and called on Godfrey Hirst to cease dealing in "unacceptable threats".

Workers have sent "flying carpets" around Geelong and Melbourne retailers to take their case to the public.

Last week a "flying carpet" landed outside the ANZ's Collins St headquarters to remind bankers of their role in the dispute.

Feltex receivers were appointed by ANZ which is its largest creditor.


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