||Issue No. 212||12 March 2004|
Interview: Baby Bust
Safety: Dust To Dust
Bad Boss: Shaming in Print
National Focus: Work's Cripplin' Us
International: Bulk Bullies
History: The Battle for Kelly's Bush
Economics: Aid, Trade And Oil
Review: The Art Of Work
Poetry: Sew His Lips Together
Seven Good Reasons To Save Medicare
Naked Leading The Blind
Millions Rung Up on Telstra
The CPSU won orders in the IRC requiring Telstra to meet the terms of five enterprise agreements, applying predominantly to Telstra Shop employees, that had been in dispute.
Telstra hired the services of anti-union law firm, Freehills, to try to push back dates at which negotiated pay increments would apply to workers around Australia.
The CPSU estimates an "average" member covered by one of the five agreements would benefit by an extra $30 a week for both the fourth and fifth increase set out in the agreements.
AWA employees are not covered by any of the collective agreements and will not benefit from the decisions.
Sir Humphreys Wriggle
Meanwhile, "Sir Humphrey Appleby" has been cited by an HR industry journal, in describing attempts by departmental heads to argue new employees aren't forced to accept non-union AWAs.
The Coalition Government has always argued "freedom of choice" in defending efforts to undercut traditional, collective agreements, although it specifically provides employers with the right to force new employees onto AWAs.
HR Report told of the ducking and diving of Department of Employment and Workplace Relations officials when it came to explaining their own policies to a Senate Inquiry.
Agency secretary, Dr Peter Boxall, said official policy gave employees and prospective employees the choice between an AWA and the collective agreement. Then, one of his officials, said it would "not be inconsistent" with that for agency heads to offer jobs on the basis of signing an AWA.
General manager corporate, Craig Symon, then told senators 49 graduates, offered jobs on the basis that they must "sign and return the AWA offer, or contact the Group Manager" if they wanted to negotiate it further, would have received other correspondence indicating the availability of the certified agreement. He was unable to enlighten senators on where that choice might have been presented.
Symon went on to describe an "internal manager's update" stating all engagements should be conditional on accepting an AWA as an "error".
Perhaps, DEWR workplace relations implementation group manager, Barbara Bennett, best summed up the department's attitude to freedom of choice when she told senators agency heads were responsible for managing direct relationships with employees and, as such, they could offer a job requiring an AWA.
"They can choose not to take the employment," she said.
Those answers, HR Report told industry players, "would have done Yes Minister's Sir Humphrey Appleby proud".
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