||Issue No. 330||27 October 2006|
Fair Weather Friends
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
Gong Sounds for Rogue Uni
Unitcentre Ltd, at Wollongong University, is pushing itself to the front of the fight over workers rights to be covered by industrial instruments of their choices.
Choice was at the heart of the federal government's publicity blitz for AWAs until it admitted they could be forced on new starters, even when they undercut existing agreements.
Now it is as the core of ACTU policy, thrashed out at National Congress this week, that seeks the right for workers to vote on the agreement they want.
SDA secretary, Gerard Dwyer, said the Unicentre stand-off was a "classic example" of the need to "restore democracy to our workplaces".
"This company's actions in ignoring a unanimous vote of its employees highlights the importance of Kim Beazley's commitment to the right of Australians to vote for a collective agreement," Dwyer said.
Permanent staff at the facility voted unanimously for a union agreement at a meeting, last week.
But Unicentre, funded by student union fees, said no dice.
It is the latest development in a three-year battle by staff for a collective contract.
At one point, employees wearing union badges, were locked out.
Dwyer says a key issue is substantially different rates of pay for people doing similar work on campus.
"People want a union negotiated collective agreement and a bit of wage justice wouldn't go astray either," he said.
Unicentre's stance is backed by the federal government.
Prime Minister John Howard told Melbourne radio, last month: "Our position is very clear and that is that it's for the employer to determine the nature of the industrial arrangement in a workplace."
Howard publicly supported American multinational, Boeing, when it locked out Hunter Valley employees who wanted a collective contract.
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