||Issue No. 327||06 October 2006|
The Road to Bangalore
Interview: Cowboys and Indians
Industrial: Seven Deadly Sins
Unions: The IT Factor
Politics: Bargain Basement
Environment: An Inconvenient Hoax
Corporate: Two Sides
International: Unfair Dismissals
History: A Stitch in Time
Review: The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Meat Head Jumps The Queue
PD Mulligan, the private company owned by northern beaches millionaire David Mulligan, vaulted 220 sacked workers by taking over a $1 million debt owed to the National Australia Bank.
Courtesy of the manoeuvre, PD Mulligan Pty Ltd, will be the first to get its hands on any Cowra company funds, although paperwork suggests it actually owes the meatworks nearly twice that amount.
Shocked meatworkers were delivered a lesson on how John Howard's corporate backers conduct their affairs at a creditors meeting, last week.
Mulligan's move has angered unions who say their members should have first call on any assets.
"By discharging the bank debt, PD Mulligan has become the guaranteed creditor in number one position," Meatworkers Union secretary, Charlie Donzow, told Workers Online.
"It all looks a bit suss to us.
"The workers are sick of the whole situation. They are owed $2.8 million in entitlements and, it seems, they will be lucky to see two thirds of that, at the most.
"Even then, it will be the taxpayer picking up the bill while the employer drives away in his Mercedes."
Donzow was referring to the federal government's GEERS Scheme that covers minimum community standard entitlements, not those negotiated and agreed on by the employer.
He estimates the Howard scheme, introduced when a company owned by the Prime Minister's brother dudded employees of entitlements, will leave Cowra meatworkers nearly $1 million shy of what they are owed.
Donzow repeated union calls for the establishment of a trust fund to protect entitlements.
Cowra hit the headlines when Mulligan used WorkChoices to try and ditch a contract negotiated with the Meatworkers Union.
He sacked everybody, earlier this year, then rehired them on grossly inferior terms.
Despite getting a green light from the government's Office of Workplace Services for that behaviour, Mulligan agreed to negotiate after a bout of negative publicity.
He brought in highly paid extreme Right activist, Paul Houlihan, to thrash out a combined beef-mutton deal.
"He (Mulligan) was happy, we were happy and everyone thought we had a long-term deal. A couple of weeks later, he closed the doors," Donzow said.
The Daily Telegraph reported that in the weeks leading to the closure, the abattoir transferred around $1 million to PD Mulligan Pty Ltd.
The administrator has referred that transaction, and other matters, to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
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