||Issue No. 304||28 April 2006|
Canaries in the Coalmine
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
Answer is Easy
Hit Run Mum Bats For Son
Daniel Persky was one of 15 Brisbane trolley collectors stiffed by a company operating under the logo of Advanced National Services.
"Being run down by the workplace manager, after insisting on payment of wages and other basic workplace rights, is extreme," says Heather Persky, whose son worked at Coles at Toowong.
Workers Online put the allegations to Advanced National Services CEO, Edward Klimowicz, who said he had just been alerted to the claims.
Coles subcontracts trolley collection to Advanced National Services (ANS) who operate as a franchise. Franchisees then use contractors to provide trolley collection, collectors being employed on an agreement with ANS.
Daniel was told he would have to re-apply for his job to receive wages, including submitting a new tax declaration, but would not be allowed to claim the tax-free threshold, meaning he would be paying 49 cents in the dollar tax on an income of less than $6000.
"It is a strange situation when employees must sign an employment agreement to be honest, punctual, responsible for their actions, protect the good name of ANS, but ANS refuses to acknowledge any reciprocal responsibility," says Heather Persky. "Apparently ANS pass workplace responsibility on to nameless people who can't or refuse to be contacted."
Klimowicz claimed he had not heard of the issue until the day before he was contacted by Workers Online, but Heather Persky claims she written numerous times to different people within ANS, including the CEO.
Klimowicz said his business dealt with the "lowest level of the socio-economic spectrum".
"Some of them turn out to be not very savoury types," admitted Klimowicz. "There are people in this country who are not to be trusted. Some run businesses, small and large."
Klimowicz would not reveal the franchise holder for Coles Toowong, claiming that a contractor to the franchisee would provide the service. He denied that it was policy to not pay trolley collectors at the Toowong Coles.
It is unclear who the contractor was, but Kerry Vogler from Advanced National Services became very agitated when confronted by Heather Persky. In front of several trolley collectors, including Daniel Persky, Vogler abused Heather Persky before allegedly running her down when she took off in her car.
Police, who have charged Vogler over the incident, told Heather Persky that Vogler was unlicensed at the time.
Kerry Vogler's son, James, told Workers Online that he was now "sort of" the contractor, referring enquiries to his "boss" Nigel Hendy, who denied being the Franchisee before refusing any further comment.
"This is a warning to parents to check out their children's employment conditions," says Heather Persky. "Trolley collecting is hard and potentially dangerous work; much of it is done by schoolboys or uni students. When they are paid it is a pittance, usually around $7 per hour, but sadly they often need to fight just to get paid."
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