||Issue No. 291||25 November 2005|
Interview: Public Defender
Legal: Craig's Story
Unions: Wrong Way, Go Back
Politics: Queue Jumping
History: Iron Heel
Economics: Waging War
International: Under Pressure
Poetry: Billy Negotiates An AWA
Review: A Pertinent Proposition
The Locker Room
Name and Shame
Unite and Fight
The Worker's Best Friend
Stop the Corporate Rot
Blackouts as Bosses Cut Deep
Power generation workers are furious at moves by Delta to follow the Victorian path and outsource maintenance at power stations in Lake Macquarie and west of Lithgow.
Since outsourcing, which accompanied privatisation, in the Victorian power generation sector, blackouts and brownouts (power surges) have become a feature of Melbourne's power supply during peak demand in summer.
Delta has just revealed that they are planning an "alliance" project with a private operator for maintenance, a move that has been labelled "backdoor privatisation" by workers. Delta CEO Jim Hennes poured fuel onto the flames when, in an article in the Lithgow Mercury, he claimed maintenance workers only worked 20 weeks in the year.
"We're very aware of the federal government system," says Les McAllister from Vales Point power station. "The company we work for is pre-empting some of that IR system.
"People are of little consequence to them. Money is the big thing."
The news comes as workers have been bristling at management pressure on staff to move to a nineteen-day month, something workers at a mass meeting in November claimed stemmed from Delta's "ideological" opposition to the existing nine-day fortnight.
"Their own surveys show that trust and morale are low and getting worse," says Matthew Winn from Vales Point.
The matter came to a head in early November when workers walked off the job, which lead to a mass meeting of Delta employees at Penrith last week.
"We have a good job but a bad employer," said one speaker at the Delta meeting.
Delta is a NSW state government owned enterprise, and senior management claimed in meetings with ministerial staff that unions had ticked off on the "alliance" proposal, a claim unions firmly rejected.
Unions are currently moving in the state industrial relations system to guarantee the nine-day fortnight.
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