||Issue No. 268||17 June 2005|
Courting Public Opinion
Interview: The Baby Drought
Industrial: Lies, AWAs and Statistics
Workplace: The Invisible Parents
History: Bruce’s Big Blunder
Politics: All God's Children
Economics: Spun Out
International: Shakey Trials
Legal: Civil Distrubance
Review: Crash Course In Racism
Poetry: You're Fired
The Locker Room
Once Upon A Time In America
The Truth Is Out There
Cash Cow On Private Tax Farm
Cobb & Co Punt Parkes
Anthony Dawson is one of 108 workers who face redundancy after Australian Topmaking Services announced they were moving their Parkes plant to China where textile workers get 80 cents an hour.
He threw down the challenge to his local National Party MP for Parkes, John Cobb, who is part of a government is pushing for a free trade deal with the communist republic.
"It's terrible to think the Howard Government is looking at going into a free trade deal with China at the same time as they are going to knock back our workplace rights," says Dawson. "Our living standards are going to drop."
"We should be hanging onto these standards and rights and showing them to the rest of the world."
"Employees made many sacrifices in an attempt to keep the operation viable."
To remain competitive with the Chinese the Australian Topmaking Services would have had to run with 10 staff members.
Australian Topmaking Services workers and their families are now looking at having to leave the regional centre.
"Many are saying they don't want to, but they'll have to," says Dawson, who has lived in Parkes for 32 years. His young family may also face the joining the exodus.
Dawson and his co-worker, Geoff Smith, drove 300 kilometres to tell delegates at the state ALP Conference of the "catastrophic" effect the closure of the plant will have on their community.
"There's an attempt here to reduce our wages," says Dawson. "Is it going to come to the point where our sheep get shorn there and are cut up into chops and sent back here because it's cheaper?"
The Australian Topmaking Services textile workers have secured a redundancy package over and above the agreement, which they put down to the efforts of their union, the TCFUA.
"The collective bargaining system that worked at Austop was a success," says Dawson.
Local Independent MP for Dubbo, Dawn Fardell, has also backed them, coming out "unambiguously" against the IR changes, according to Dawson.
"We need practical support so people have a future," says Dawson, who is surprised by the silence from John Cobb. "We haven't heard anything from him. Not even a facsimile."
The news comes as textile manufacturer Gale Pacific announced that around 100 jobs would go to China from it's Melbourne plant.
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