||Issue No. 302||07 April 2006|
The Cowra Clause
Interview: Head On
Unions: Do You Have a Moment?
Industrial: Vital Signs
Economics: Taxing Times
Environment: It Ainít Necessarily So
History: Melbourneís Hours
Immigration: Opening the Floodgates
Review: Pollie Fiction
Poetry: The Cabal
The Locker Room
Belly Spreads The Word
Lying Lies And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
More Slaughter in South Australia
Around 20 union members were locked out after they refused to sign take-it or leave-it AWAs that stripped holidays, including Australia Day, and undercut EBA rates.
When they were forced back to the Naracoorte Abattoir, by the introduction of John Howard's new IR regime, Teys Brothers celebrated by "suspending" delegates, Jamie Stokie and Terry McCarthy, and slashing the wages of their supporters.
The hardline approach, driven by Brisbane-based Human Resources Manager John Salter, has pitched Teys Brothers onto the frontline of the nationwide battle for workers' rights.
Salter is now mulling over how far he wants Teys Brothers in front of the union-busting pack.
The company missed its own deadline, last Tuesday, to respond to a "war or peace" ultimatum delivered by the Meatworkers Union.
"They can operate on civilised lines or they can take the consequences," AMIEU South Australian secretary, Graham Smith, said.
""Our members aren't going to take this sort of belligerence and they have support from around the country."
The gung-ho nature of the Teys Bros campaign appears to have made it vulnerable on a number of fronts.
It utilised the services of 20 imported Chinese workers, during the lockout. They were brought into Australia as "skilled" guest workers but, Workers Online understands, have since been relegated to labouring positions.
On their return, the protesting meatworkers were downgraded from positions as skilled boners and slicers to labouring jobs, suffering effective wage cuts of around $400 a week.
Stockie and McCarthy were suspended indefinitely, without pay, in a move Smith described as "de facto sackings".
On the surface, the company appears to have opened itself up to possible freedom of association, and discrimination actions, and there are serious questions about its use of guest labour.
Smith wouldn't be drawn on the Meatworkers' strategy.
"We are keeping our powder dry," Smith said. "We have explained the choices carefully and the ball is in the company's court."
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