||Issue No. 319||11 August 2006|
Good Versus Evil
Interview: A Life And Death Matter
Unions: Fighting Back
Industrial: What Cowra Means
Environment: Scrambling for Energy Security
Politics: Page Turner
Economics: The State of Labour
International: Workers Blood For Oil
History: Liberty in Spain
Review: Go Roys, Make A Noise
The Locker Room
The Cruellest Cut
More Standover Tactics in WA
AMWU state secretary, Jock Ferguson, says Total Corrosion Control has already stolen around 300 hours from 40 employees at Alcoa's Pinjarra operation.
Ferguson lashed the company's use of penal provisions in the Workplace Relations and Building Industry Improvement Acts as "frivolous, provocative and unhelpful".
TCC became the first company in Australia to use the draconian provisions when it served writs on 40 AMWU members, seeking up to $28,600 in fines.
They will be in court on August 29, the same day as 107 CFMEU members from the troubled Perth-Mandurah rail project.
TCC is also chasing penalties of up to $110,000 against the AMWU, and unspecified damages from individuals and their union.
The dispute began when TCC refused to sign a memorandum of understanding to pay construction rates, at Pinjarra.
All other Alcoa contractors have signed the MOU in recognition of the fact that both maintenance and construction work goes on at the facility.
Union members held a meeting and went home, in protest, two weeks ago.
TCC sought and was granted orders requiring the men to return to work.
AMWU officials visited the site, the following morning, to explain the meaning of the orders and TCC alleges that meeting went 15 minutes beyond the scheduled starting time.
After workers were served with writs, last weekend, union officials again visited Pinjarra and the company claims, this time, the meeting went five minutes too long.
John Howard's new laws allow companies to deduct four hours wages for any meeting that impinges on working hours.
TCC slashed eight hours from everyone's pay in retribution for meetings, they say, ate up 20 minutes of their time.
Ferguson said both meetings were necessary because of TCC provocations.
"They didn't tell anyone they were docking wages. Effectively they have stolen a day's pay off everybody," Ferguson said.
"This employer is prepared to ruthlessly use every weapon the federal government has presented to destroy people's right to collectively bargain.
"It beats me how this sort of attitude is supposed to lead to a better, more co-operative workplace. In the end, it will reduce productivity."
Ferguson said the legal actions were "frivolous in the extreme".
"We will be defending them vigorously because we have done nothing wrong.'
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