||Issue No. 188||25 July 2003|
Solidarity Gets Sexy
Interview: As They Say In The Bible ...
Industrial: Just Doing It
Unions: Breaking Into the Boys Club
Activists: Making the Hard Yards
Bad Boss: In the Pooh
Unions: National Focus
Economics: Pop Will Eat Itself
Technology: Dean for President
International: Rangoon Rumble
Education: Blackboard Jungle
Review: From Weakness to Strength
The Locker Room
Does This Make Me a Raving Trot?
More on Bullies
And More …
Trolley Rort Gathers Pace
The Metro Group of Companies went into administration earlier this month, tipping 300 production workers and trades people out of jobs, after a Patrick-style corporate reshuffle that leaves workers and debtors trying to recover money from a range of shelf companies, devoid of assets.
Angry AMWU and AWU members demanded action from corporate watchdog ASIC at a Sydney protest rally today.
"We're asking them to investigate the collapse, the structure and restructure of the companies and the conduct of directors," AMWU secretary Paul Bastian said.
"If there are any breaches they should use their powers to prosecute.
"Unfortunately, unless your name is Rivkin or Elliott, no one seems to go after you.
"There appear to be two types of robbery in this country. If someone takes $10 off you in the street you can expect your day in court but if they steal thousands off you at work, bad luck."
Bastian said ASIC wasn't adequately funded to bring corporate shysters to justice.
His union, required to pick up the pieces after workers had been dudded by a string of collapses, is demanding significant changes to corporate law as a disincentive to directors who shut down operations that employ people but continue to operate other commercial entities.
The AMWU is pressing for:
- reverse onus of proof on directors whose companies go into administration or receivership, arguing they should be required to prove their bona fides before being allowed to operate other concerns.
- superannuation to be paid quarterly, as a legal minimum
- related company liability
- entitlements to be paid into individual accounts administered by industry trust funds
Bastian says the last of those demands is the most urgent in practical terms.
"We've got to get our money out of the bosses' hands as a priority," he said.
Protection of entitlements is a key claim being put forward by unions involved in Campaign 2003. Steadfast employer resistance has been a key reason for an outbreak of industrial action around NSW and Victoria.
Initial investigations suggest at least some Metro Group workers were transferred to companies without assets in the weeks preceding the collapse.
It appears, several associated companies remain in tact.
AMWU officials were unwilling to confirm or deny growing speculation about Metro Group shennanigans. Bastian said he would wait until being briefed by the administrator before addressing those issues.
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