||Issue No. 333||17 November 2006|
Interview: Common Ground
Industrial: A Low Act
Unions: The Number of the Least
Politics: The Smoking Gun
Economics: Microcredit, Compulsory Superannuation and Inequality
Environment: Low Voltage
History: The Art of Social Justice
Review: Work’s Unhealthy Appetite
Culture: A Forgotten Poet
“Elephant” Knocks Over Unicentre
The breakthrough came, this week, when the Wollongong Uni employer caved in to near unanimous opposition to its anti-union posturing.
Unicentre announced it would enter negotiations with the SDA and LHMU on a collective agreement for employees.
"The Unicentre board has acknowledged the employees' right to a union collective agreement and accepted that the unanimous endorsement of such an agreement by two mass meetings of members indicated the democratic will of its employees," restrained SDA secretary, Gerard Dwyer, said.
Prior to the turnaround, Unicentre had used John Howard's workplace laws to thumb its nose at overwhelming support for the proposal.
For two years, the SDA and LHMU have been trying to get Unicentre around the bargaining table.
Dozens of workers held meetings and wore union badges to press their claim. Several were stood down for donning badges at the height of hostitilites.
Unicentre agreed to a collective agreement, last month, but insisted that it be a non-union one.
"The key issue is a long term one," Dwyer said. "The employee collective agreement, against a union collective agreement, is fundamentally about right of entry.
"This legislation tries to restrict employees' contact with their representatives.
"At least 90 percent of employees are union members, it's not like we're a pimple on the elephant down there. Union members are the elephant.
" The problem with this legislation is their aspirations mean nothing. The employer can simply sit on it hands and ignore them."
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