||Issue No. 321||25 August 2006|
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
Technicians Win Action Ballot
The Australian Industrial Relations Commission green-lighted the ballot, after a four-hour hearing at which company lawyers tried to frustrate on-the-job resistance with legal and technical arguments.
WorkChoices allows employers to strip "protected" conditions and cut wages below award standards but imposes detailed technical and beuraucratic requirements on workers who seek to resist.
Employees who take industrial action before jumping through the legal and technical hoops imposed by Canberra face substantial fines and the possibility of unlimited damages.
The Australian Electoral Commission will conduct the Radio Rentals ballot in Adelaide, next week.
AMWU assistant national secretary, Glenn Thompson, said technicians were left with "few alternatives" when their employer sacked three union activists and unveiled AWAs that would strip the rest of core award protections.
Thompson said the company, represented by anti-worker Adelaide law firm, EMA, had torn up negotiated conditions and employed a dodgy corporate restructure to further its agenda.
Thompson said Radio Rentals had:
- told the union "categorically" it would not seek to impose individual contracts
- successfully applied to have the existing contract terminated
- sacked the elected delegate and two other activists
- introduced "sub-standard" AWAs
- tried to change the legal identity of the employer from Radio Rentals to Walkers Stores
Thompson said the three technicians declared "redundant" before the AWAs were produced had 30, 27 and 17 years of service.
As a result of the collective contract being terminated, the delegate lost $86,000 in redundancy pay as well as his job.
Thompson said technicians would be meeting, this week, to determine the forms of industrial action that should be included on the ballot.
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