|Issue No 107||17 August 2001|
Stellar Out of Line: Hamberger
The Employment Advocate has conceded that a Wollongong company at the centre of a campaign over its anti-union practices could be in breach of the Workplace Relations Act.
Jonathan Hamberger has told Workers Online that he has written to Stellar alerting them to their policies of locking unions out of internal discipline proceedings.
In a letter to Workers Online, he writes:
"I refer to an article of 3 August 2001, by Jim Marr titled "Unions Hamburgled", stating that the CPSU Communications union had asked the Office of the Employment Advocate (OEA) to rule on the legality of AWAs for workers at Stellar Call Centres Pty Ltd.
Where an AWA contains a dispute resolution procedure, there is no scope in the Act for the Employment Advocate to set aside that procedure.
However, there is potential for the procedure in Stellar's AWA to be applied in such a way as to prevent an employee from being able to seek representation by their trade union.
I have advised both the CPSU and Stellar Call Centres that, if the procedure was to be applied in this way, then it may be possible to argue that the employer would be in breach of Part XA of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 concerning Freedom of Association.
We have asked Stellar to consider making changes in their procedure to ensure that it is not applied in such a way as to prevent employees being represented by the union."
Stellar call centre has been the target of union anger for its refusal to allow workers to belong to unions. (see feature 'The Black Hole').
The Tesltra off-shoot employs workers on individual contracts at rates up to $5000 per annum less than those paid by Telstra employees doing identical work.
Labor Council secretary John Robertson says it would be better if the Employment Advocate took legal action to force Stellar to comply with the law, rather than "asking" them to "consider" changes.
"This is either illegal or not - if it is, Stellar should be forced to comply with the law," Robertson says.
Interview: What's The Deal?
Labor's IR spokesman Arch Bevis explains how a Beazley Government will rebuild our broken system.
E-Change: 2.3 The State of the Union
White hope or white elephant? The future of trade unions is by no means guaranteed in the networked society.
Industrial: Into the 21st Century
ACTU President Sharan Burrow looks at the landmark deal delivering workers 12 months paid maternity leave.
Unions: The Black Hole
Jim Marr goes inside Stellar to discover the human cost of a management philosophy that says: you are on your own.
History: The Age of Dissent
The Sydney Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History has organised a Conference on Social Protest Movements and the Labour Movement, 1965-1975.
Media: ABC and the Knowledge Nation
Tony Moore looks at how the national broadcaster's fortunes are closely linked to the Knowledge Nation Agenda
International: Brazil´s C.U.T. - When Big Is Beautiful
The CFMEU´s Phil Davey drops in on Brazil´s equivalent to the ACTU, the Central Unica Dos Trabalhadores (CUT).
Satire: Bracks Disputes Cabramatta tag
Victorian Premier Steve Bracks has called for a national council to decide on a location for Australia's drug capital.
Review: Globalisation Is Globalisation
In an extract from his book, Christopher Shiel argues that the official Australian perspective on globalisation is strikingly narrow.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005