||Issue No. 217||23 April 2004|
Interview: Terror Australis
Unions: Graeme Beard's Second Dig
Industrial: The Hell of Troy
Organising: Miners Strike Gold
Economics: The Accepted Wisdom
History: Vicious Old Lady
International: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Review: War Unfogged
The Locker Room
Right Turn Ends in Court
The Supreme Court in Sydney last week ordered the motoring organisation to hold a special general meeting to consider resolutions forwarded by AMWU assistant state secretary, John Parkin, and more than 4000 others.
Hard Right NRMA CEO, Tony Stewart, had been resisting a vote on his plan to contract out jobs and move patrol officers' from state to federal employment jurisdiction, although only 100 member signatures were required to force a special meeting showdown.
Parkin said 4200 paid-up NRMA members had signed the patrol officers' meeting demand in less than a fortnight.
Stewart has been playing hard ball since the officers' enterprise bargaining agreement expired more than a year ago.
Workers were recently warned of his intention to bring the matter to a head with an eight week lockout. That plan, too, was foiled last week when Federal IRC Commissioner Munro ruled ruled the NRMA play for federal status was outside his jurisdiction.
Stewart, fresh from corporatising Sydney Airport, had earlier launched a grab for officers' superannuation entitlements. Workers knocked that on the head with a four-day stoppage.
His regime then went public with its plan to contract out at least 100 of the 412 existing patrol officer jobs. To achieve that, however, Stewart had to move officers out of the reach of a state agreement that contains a clause forbidding outsourcing. Hence last week's IRC manoeuvering.
The NRMA was accused, in the NSW Parliament, of planning service cutbacks shortly after announcing fee increases to members.
The Supreme Court ruling will see NRMA members vote on the following resolutions ...
- that the wages and conditions of staff not be undermined
- that there be an end to the "discriminatory" situation of applying different wages and working conditions to patrolmen doing the same jobs
Following last week's court and IRC rulings, the NRMA asked the AMWU to resume discussions about the enterprise bargaining agreement.
Parkin said it was about time.
"If they want to talk we will be there," he said. "All these officers want to do is get this matter fixed up and get on with helping NRMA members."
He said officers were relieved the court had upheld their right to appeal to members because they didn't want to have to disrupt services to motorists.
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