||Issue No. 253||25 February 2005|
And The Battle Begins
Economics: Super Seduction
Interview: Bono and Me
Unions: The Eight Hour Day and the Holy Spirit
Technology: From Widgets to Digits
Education: Dumb and Dumber
Health: No Place for the Young
History: The Work-In That Changed a Nation
Review: Dare to Win
Poetry: Labor's Dreaming
The Locker Room
Just One Thing
No Dosh For Rupert
Executions Not Fines
Howard Needs To Know
Signs of the Times
Six of eight employees at Civiquip, Hoppers Crossing, have joined the AMWU in a bid to knock off AWAs being championed by Prime Minister, John Howard.
AMWU organiser, Fergal Eiffe, says proposed earnings fall between $1 and $9 an hour below enterprise bargaining rates being paid in the region; that 2.5 percent annual increases would see workers fall below the CPI; and that leave loadings appear to have vanished all together.
"This is the trouble with AWAs. They are an opportunity for employers to tear down wages, conditions and basic human rights with the government's blessing," Eiffe said.
"These ones look like they were drafted in the 1800s."
The documents bar radios, computers, mobile phones, slacks, shorts, coarse or blasphemous language from Civiquip's premises, on pain of dismissal, and allow the company to work employees on Victoria's Melbourne Cup public holiday.
They give the thumbs-up to religious discrimination and legitimise employer discrimination, as long as he has less than six fulltime employees.
"Nothing in these provisions prohibits", the AWA reads, "any discriminatory conduct by:
"(A) a person (against another person) if the discrimination is necessary for the first person to comply with the person's genuine religious beliefs or principles.
"(B) an Employer if the Employer employs no more than the equivalent of five people on a fulltime basis ... "
Civiquip AWAs call on workers to sign away rights to union representation.
The AWAs, prepared by IR Australia of Pitt St, Sydney, were handed to employees just prior to Christmas.
That, Eiffe says, goes to the core of what AWAs are all about.
"These people didn't even know IR Australia existed," Eiffe says, "until they found out they were writing their new terms of employment.
"This has got nothing to do with flexibility or bargaining in the workplace. It is about loading the dice in the employer's favour so he can cut living standards and, in this case, impose his own value system on everyone who works for him.
"We respect religious beliefs but living in a society is all about finding a balance."
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