|Issue No. 219
|07 May 2004
The Mouse That Roars
Interview: Machine Man
Unions: Testing Times
Bad Boss: Freespirit Haunts Internet
Unions: Badge of Honour
National Focus: Noel's World
Economics: Safe Refuge
International: Global Abuse
History: The Honeypot
Review: Death And The Barbarians
Poetry: Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Justice For Victims Denied
Worker Breaks Unwritten Law
After Chris Talmage was carpeted for a breach of company "policy" managers were unable to refer to the specific indiscretion, and a survey of workmates revealed none had heard of the mystery transgression.
It occurred as TeleTech backed away from suggestions they had made to workers that if they did not sign controversial Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) they would miss out on a pay rise.
"Our members did not have to sign an oppressive take it or leave it AWA in order to get a 3% pay rise," says USU Organiser Paul Morris.
TeleTech had threatened its employees last year that if they did not sign the new AWA they would miss out a 3% pay rise.
Meeting "An Absolute Abuse Of Power"
In the most recent development at the company, union member Chris Talmage was given no prior warning before being hauled into a meeting with management on the 8th of April and accused of 'breaching' a company policy called 'accessing your own account '.
"It was an ambush!" says USU organiser Paul Morris, who said that Talmage was not allowed to be represented in the meeting.
Talmage was told the matter had to be 'investigated' and that he was suspended from work until further notice.
On April 14th Chris was sent a letter from TeleTech Human Resources manager Rachael Wilkins threatening disciplinary action and termination. In this letter he was ordered to attend a meeting in his own time and would not be allowed any representation.
"As far as management were concerned the 'breach' was serious enough for Chris to be removed from the building and suspended," says Morris. "The breach was also serious enough for Chris to be sent a letter which threatens disciplinary action and termination. On the other hand the breach was not serious enough for him to have representation. Can you believe this?"
"Our survey to members asking them whether they were aware of this policy turned up a response of 100% 'no'."
Morris described the April 16 meeting as "an absolute abuse of power by management".
At a subsequent meeting on the 21st of April the company did not obstruct union representation for Talmage.
Management decided that Chris was guilty of breaching the 'accessing your own account ' policy. Despite union arguments he was then presented with a first written warning after being suspended for 12 days. Chris refused to sign the warning letter.
"The USU is quite adamant that our members are not going to be used as scapegoats for TeleTech management's failure to provide a clear and concise policy on accessing personal accounts," says Morris. "At the end of all this Chris is back on the job, paid for time lost time (including Public Holiday rates) and paid to attend meetings called by management."
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