||Issue No. 281||16 September 2005|
Interview: Polar Eclipse
Industrial: Wrong Turn
Unions: Star Support
Workplace: Checked Out
Economics: Sold Out
Politics: Green Banned
History: Potted History
International: Curtain Call
Review: Little Fish
Poetry: Slug A Worker
The Locker Room
Do the Bus Stop
A Touch of Honesty
Boss Made Me Sick
Letters to the Editor
It may seem a little strange that a person who blew the whistle on widespread bullying at his former company (Chubb Security) would have so many opinions on free markets, government regulation, IR reforms and OHS? However, personal experience ties all these things together.
Let me try and put it all together, Mr Rashid, a contractor to Chubb Security who was shot dead at Punchbowl in 2001. Mr Rashid, I believe, was a victim of a culture driven by competition and profit at the expense of employee safety and welfare.
The reason Chubb decided to reduce the traditional armoured service was one of cost and by replacing four man crews with one person using their own vehicle, allowed them to undercut the competition.
A close friend of mine had concerns about taking on the downgraded service (and he was the operations manager for that particular service) but had decided to remain quiet for fear of losing his job. In fact most people at Chubb at the time were aware of the consequences of challenging the decision makers.
The day Mr Rasheed was gunned down, I recall having a conversation with my colleague and the first thing he said to me was '\they are going to try an pin this on me', they knew this was wrong! He was visibly shaken and concerned.
But this known risk to employee safety hadn't started with the shooting death, in fact, since the service downgrade was implemented other officers had been bashed and robbed - and I think it was on exactly the same run Mr Rasheed was on, from memory. All warnings and indicators were conveniently ignored by Chubb.
In hindsight, it was perfectly foreseeable that tragedy was a real possibility. In fact, Chubb were also later prosecuted by WorkCover for other offences that occurred earlier in 2001.
I finally blew the whistle because I was unable to tolerate, what to me, was a mean spirited and profit driven machine which had been hurting too many people, including myself.
This might also help to explain why I am so opposed to proposed industrial reforms - they too could have some very deadly consequences. And a culture of fear and intimidation that exists in many organisations, in my opinion, will be one of the contributing factors that conceal the potential deadly risks associated with corporate competitiveness.
Take away workers rights, increase employer power, ignore critical regulations and bang! People can die! And why? Because free market competitive for profits replace 'duty of care' for the health and welfare of employees and in some cases the public at large.
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