|Issue No 23||23 July 1999|
Pfizer Jerks Workers Off
Viagra producer Pfizer have recruited high profile union-buster Paul Houlihan to move its workforce out of the state industrial system and into Peter Reith's federal domain.
The move comes as the pharmaceutical manufacturer's workforce of 150 enter a new pay round after winning a Viagra-induced two year, 20 per cent wage rise 12 months ago.
Australian Workers Union organiser Hugh McDermott says that the company seems to have changed its attitude to the union, refusing him membership of a consultative committee against the wishes of workers.
McDermott says the company has engaged Houlihan to draft a new deal which would effectively replace the award safety net with a human resources policy manual.
"The proposed agreement reads like one of Peter Reith's wet dreams," he says.
The deal includes changes such as: right of instant dismissal, introducing seasonal employees with no fixed terms or hours of employment, removal of the union picnic day, promotion of individual monthly employment contracts and excluding the union from the disputes procedure.
There are also concerns that new confidentially provisions would effectively outlaw any form of industrial action by the workers, while leave provisions appear to be in breach of the Annual Holidays Act. And in the event of problems with Y2K, the agreement seeks to stand all workers down without any pay.
"They've breached all the major provisions of the NSW Industrial Relations Act," McDermott says. "They are trying to effectively remove the award safety net and operate separately from awards."
McDermott says workers want to stay under the state award, which has superior protections on a range of conditions and has a stronger link to enterprise bargaining.
"If the company wants to take the workers on, they'll rise to the occasion," he says.
Interview: An Economic Wet
Dr Christopher Sheil on economic rationalism and the 1997-98 water failures in Adelaide and Sydney.
Unions: The Stench from the South
In 1997 the entire Adelaide metropolitan area was drenched in foul, sulphorous, sewerage odours, emanating from the Bolivar waste water treatment plant.
Environment: Trading into Trouble
Seattle, USA, is shaping up as demonstrator mecca in the lead up to World Trade Organisation talks.
History: Eveliegh Rail Reunion
Former workers and their families from the historic Eveleigh Railway Workshops in inner-Sydney are holding a picnic reunion and folk music festival on the site on Sunday, August 29.
International: Bosses Use Armed Gangs to Break Russian Picket
On 9 July 1999, eighty masked, uniformed gunmen accompanied by the local prosecutor and other officials tried to storm the Vyborg Pulp and Paper Mill, under occupation by workers for the past eighteen months.
Satire: New Refugee Crisis: Journalists Flee Peace Zone
The camps are once again full in the Albanian border town of Gruntiez.
Review: 10 Reasonably Interesting Moments in Film
Cultural theorist Snag Cleaver flies off the handle again..
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005