||Issue No. 303||21 April 2006|
Interview: Head On
Unions: Do You Have a Moment?
Industrial: Vital Signs
Economics: Taxing Times
Environment: It Ain’t Necessarily So
History: Melbourne’s Hours
Immigration: Opening the Floodgates
Review: Pollie Fiction
Poetry: The Cabal
The Locker Room
Lying Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them II
What Tax Cuts?
Belly Says It’s Time
A Word Of Warning Stop
Well That Clears That Up Then
David Phoenix Rises Again
On behalf of 10 members, dudded $88,000, the AMWU is appealing a NSW Industrial Relations Commission decision that prevented it joining new entity, Digital Graphics Proprietary Ltd, to unfair contracts actions against principals of its predecessor, David Graphics.
The case blew in November, 2003, when David Graphics went into voluntary administration, leaving employees short more than $100,000 in super entitlements, salary sacrificing and health fund contributions.
The AMWU alleged the company, headed by Alan Thomas David, sat on workers' money for 18 months before going into administration.
It claims David is behind the new company which that over most of the old operation's assets and work.
Digital Graphics' registered owners, the AMWU says, are Alan David's daughter and longtime partner.
Industrial lawyer, Stephen Penning, says the case before the NSW IRC full bench, is significant in the battle to stop directors going belly-up then returning to business in a new guise.
He says it falls outside the proscriptions of WorkChoices because it seeks remedies from an entity that never employed the workers, and is brought by a union, rather than individual employees.
"John Howard's new laws extinguish the operation of state law as it affects employees of a corporation," Penning explains.
"But this claim is against the directors, who are not corporations, and another company which was not the employer.
"It is an important test case."
The union is seeking unfair contracts judgements against David and fellow director, John Coates, and wants Digital Graphics joined to the case.
AMWU state secretary, Paul Bastian, said it put "phoenix" operators on notice that they would be pursued.
"If ASIC is incapable or unwilling to pursue people who don't meet their obligations to the families of workers, the AMWU will," he promised.
"Phoenixing" - the art of burning debts and returning to business under a new guise, has cost Australian workers millions of dollars in recent years.
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