|Issue No 109
|31 August 2001
Keystone Cops At Wonderland Protest
A group of cleaners at Sydney's largest theme park were threatened with arrest by their employer last Sunday during an LHMU pay protest.
When the police didn't take any action the company said they would get the theme park's security guards to haul them away - but management were warned not to do that.
" It really was a case of the Keystone cops.
" The management just didn't know how to react when the cleaners showed the power that comes through unity, as they took their first ever industrial action ," Steve Klaassen, LHMU Cleaners Union organiser said.
" Wonderland said we were trespassing so they called out the police and threatened to get them to arrest all the cleaners who were protesting outside the park's gates.
" But when the police arrived they told management we were not trespassing and there would be no arrests .
" Wonderland then called in their own security guards. This time we called the police," Steve Klaassen said.
" The security guards and management were warned that if they touched the cleaners they could be charged with wrongful imprisonment.
" The company was gob-smacked.
" We were handing out balloons saying 'I support the Cleaners'.
" The company tried to undermine our balloon protest by handing out - for free -
the balloons they normally sell at $10 a pop to the kids.
" It was laughable."
On the day after the protest Wonderland told the cleaners that if they take part in further industrial action, they will be sacked!
" Every cleaner has been given a first and final warning over taking action yesterday," Steve Klaassen said.
Twelve cleaners are paid at $14.08 an hour while nine cleaners are paid at $15.61 an hour.
The pay difference came about because Wonderland found they couldn't attract workers at the lower rate.
" They were advertising the jobs at the lower rate, but no one applied. They were forced to advertise the jobs at a higher rate.
" We are now in the situation that 9 new cleaners get paid at the $15.61 an hour higher rate and the 12 cleaners who have been working at Wonderland for a much longer period are being paid $14.08 an hour.
" Our members believe it is only fair that all the cleaners are paid equally.
" At the end of the day people are doing the same work for different pay."
LHMU members and supporters have been asked to back the Wonderland workers - even through their computers.
Members and supporters have been told they can tell Wonderland's Front Desk that they back the cleaners' cause.
Send an E-mail to mailto:[email protected]
Please send any copies of the e-mail to Steve Klaassen.
Read earlier stories about the Wonderland dispute
Wonderland threatens to sue its cleaners click here to read.
No wonder Wonderland workers unhappy click here to read.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005