||Issue No. 204||21 November 2003|
Holes in the Net
Interview: Union for the Dispossessed
Unions: Joel's Law
National Focus: Spring Carnival
Bad Boss: Fina and Fiends
Industrial: The Price of War
Economics: Who's Got What
History: Containing Discontent
Review: An Honourable Wally
Poetry: The Colours of Discontent
Public Transport A Bit Rich
US Giant Attacks Aussies
The maintenance workers’ employer, P&H MinePro, is part of the US Multinational, Harnischfeger group - the company behind the long running Joy Dispute in the Southern Highlands in 2000.
"We know we're in for a long hard fight,' says P&H MinePro worker Mark Makin, who, along with his workmates, remains determined to win the dispute.
For the last seven months the workers at the company's Mount Thorley and Hexham sites have been trying to negotiate a new collective agreement.
P&H MinePro had offered to abide by the result of a secret ballot, but when the workers rejected individual contracts by a vote of 52 to 10 the company refused to negotiate, instead repackaging the AWAs as a collective agreement and offering it as a take-it-or-leave it deal.
"They wanted an AWA clause,' says Makin. "They also wanted to link Key Performance Indicators to increases, which is a bit hard when we have no control over that."
The company has been trying to intimidate workers, interviewing them individually and asking them if they would take legal industrial action.
"We told them that is our right," says Makin.
Since being locked out only six of the 62 strong workforce have crossed the picket line.
"Six guys are scab labouring,' says Makin. "They're hurting the cause but they are a minority. We're the majority."
Employees involved in a peaceful protest outside the company's site at Hexham have been threatened with violence by security guards employed by the company.
"This is a pattern of behaviour by Harnischfeger in attacking ordinary Australians," says Tim Ayres from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU). Most of the employees at the company are members of the AMWU, with a small number being members of the CFMEU.
"This is not a dispute about an agreement," says AMWU State Secretary Paul Bastian. "This is nothing less than an attempt by the company to crush the unions and impose AWAs on its workforce."
"P&H MinePro workers will not accept the Americanisation of our industrial relations system. The company lost at Joy and it will not win at Mount Thorley."
Workers from P&H MinePro will be visiting workplaces in Sydney this week. The AMWU has called for support from other workers for the efforts of the P&H MinePro employees at Hexham and Mount Thorley by inviting them to speak at workplaces, pass resolutions in support of the workers or visiting either of the company's two sites.
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