||Issue No. 329||20 October 2006|
Sucking the Oranges
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
Boeing Bombs Individual Contracts
The American aerospace giant that locked engineers out of its Williamtown operation, near Newcastle, for 265 bitter days has offered employees a collective contract.
AWU official, John Boyd, has labelled Boeing's decision the "biggest backflip in Australian industrial relations history".
"It's extraordinary," Boyd said. "They locked these guys out for 265 days because they wanted a collective agreement.
"Boeing told the public collective agreements did not fit into its business model.
"They flew in scabs to run their operations.
"They sat through a three-month NSW IRC inquiry and wouldn't budge.
"Seven months later, they table a document that is, basically, what our guys wanted all along."
Boeing has put up a non-union collective agreement for a staff ballot and Boyd says the AWU won't be advising anyone to vote it down.
It includes increased wages, a 38-hour week, overtime penalty rates, fuel tanks allowances and a classification structure - key elements of the union claim Boeing rejected.
"This is a major improvement," Boyd said, "the guys can't knock it back.
"Everyone knows it wouldn't be on the table if it wasn't for the nine month strike by union members and the support they got from the community."
Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, accused Boeing of putting up philosophy as a smokescreen for union-busting, during the dispute.
"Why else would you agree, in essence, to virtually everything the union members were asking for?" he asked.
"In philosophical terms, this a win for the union. It's an admission on the part of the company that the individual contracts on offer were inadequate."
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