World briefs

Thou shalt not have a union • Shall we review my severance? • Bush and Kerry take note • Recruited to Jordan, ending up in Iraq

Thou shalt not have a union

Auckland, N.Z.
— A New Zealand lab is taking advantage of a little-known labour law that allows it to bar unions from its workplace on religious grounds. Maurice Clist, company director of Auckland-based Fort Richardson Laboratories, is a member of the Exclusive Brethren, a group whose beliefs preclude membership in any other organization. As an individual employer with fewer than 20 workers, and a member of a religious society, Clist was able to prevent the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union from talking to his staff.

Shall we review my severance?

Brisbane, Australia
— An Australian worker who tried to blackmail his employer over alleged health and safety breaches was recently sentenced to 200 hours of community service. James Denholm, 18, of Brisbane tried to extort $10,000 AUS from his employer after he was laid off. Denholm wrote a letter to his former boss claiming to have photographs of oil leaking into drains and other infractions. To avoid millions of dollars in fines he suggested the company pay him $10,000 to keep quiet.

Bush and Kerry take note

Princeton, N.J.
— One-half of American workers say they are “completely satisfied” with their jobs, according to a recent Gallup survey. But the poll revealed a 21-point gap between Republicans and Democrats, with 62 per cent of Republicans completely satisfied with their jobs compared to 41 per cent of Democrats. The survey revealed workers are most satisfied with their relationships with co-workers.

Recruited to Jordan, ending up in Iraq

Kathmandu, Nepal
— Police in Kathmandu arrested the owners of two staffing agencies for illegally recruiting workers for Iraq and North Korea. The companies allegedly promised semi-literate people, doing petty jobs for poor wages, with higher paying jobs in locations like Jordan. The story came to light after a number of workers were taken hostage in Iraq, though Nepal forbids its citizens from working in Iraq.

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