Good news (for a change)

Parmalat workers victory

More than two months after 60 workers were locked out of a Victorian yoghurt factory, AMWU and ETU members voted on March 20 to accept an agreement that includes wage rises and improved redundancy provisions.

The agreement also included provisions making all production workers direct employees of Parmalat and for mandatory consultation with the union if contractors are engaged.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus congratulated the workers on wining "an epic battle with a multi-national".

"They were locked out for 62 days with the threat of 40% pay cut hanging over their heads," she said.

"But despite all of that they held firm like good Aussie workers have for generations and they won in the end."

Asylum seekers can keep mobile phones

The Federal Court ruled on March 17 that asylum seekers have the right to continue their legal fight to keep their mobile phones while in onshore immigration detention.

Border Force had planned to confiscate all detainees' phones and SIM cards on February 19, but were prevented by a temporary injunction obtained by the National Justice Project.

The government challenged the Federal Court’s jurisdiction to hear the application, but that challenge has been dismissed and the case can now proceed.

Solicitor George Newhouse said: "This is a small but important victory, but it's a long journey ahead and we're up against a government that will oppose human rights at every turn.”

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