||Issue No. 312||23 June 2006|
Striking Out Rights
Interview: Rock Solid
Industrial: Eight Simple Rules for Employing My Teenage Daughter
Politics: The Johnnie Code
Energy: Fission Fantasies
History: All The Way With Clarrie O'Shea
International: Closer to Home
Economics: Taking the Fizz
Unions: Stronger Together
Review: Montezuma's Revenge
Poetry: Fair Go Gone
The Locker Room
Tooheys Orders a Blue
Under Tooheys' new contract with transport company Linfox, drivers are being told to cut their pay by $42,000, and to fork out up to $50,000 to upgrade their rigs.
"We'd like people to think before they have a drink," Unions NSW Assistant Secretary Mark Lennon said.
NSW Parliamentarians have little choice as bar staff are refusing to serve Tooheys brews because of the company's "deplorable" treatment of drivers.
Public Service Association secretary, John Cahill, said bar staff were outraged at Tooheys using the current industrial relations climate to dud workers.
"They saw it as a good way to put a bit of pressure on Tooheys," Cahill said.
The contracts came as the Federal Government introduced new "independent contractor" laws, which will deny thousands of workers the right to conditions protected under state law, such as minimum rates of pay, entitlements and access to unfair contracts remedies.
The Independent Contractors Act transfers "independent contractors" - 400,000 of whom work for a single company - from employment laws to commercial regimes.
NSW and Victorian owner-drivers will be exempted from the act, but this will be reviewed after 12 months.
NSW Industrial Relations Minister John Della Bosca said people would be forced into contracting arrangements where they were left footing bills for their own holidays, workers compensation and superannuation.
"Workers will have to assume responsibility for all of these things, pays the costs, and shoulder the risks," Della Bosca said.
Della Bosca said, in combination with WorkChoices, the proposed contractor law would be used to dud workers.
"This bill will make it as easy as possible for employers to sack employees and employ them as contractors."
Tooheys drivers are fighting back through the Transport Workers Union which was locked in negotiations as Workers Online published.
The TWU says drivers have paid up to $450,000 for their Tooheys rounds and company demands could cost debt-laden drivers their family homes.
The government's Bill seeks to deny contractors the right to bargain collectively. It would make it illegal to "collude" against commercial giants like Lion Nathan or Linfox.
"Contractor" status has already been forced on building workers and meatworkers, including labourers, in the face of ATO warnings that contracting poses a threat to the integrity of Australia's tax system.
The ATO told federal government's Building Industry Royal Commission that that sector hid up to 40 percent of its income with contractors posing the biggest problem.
It testified levels of non-compliance were "high and widespread" amongst smaller industry operators.
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