||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
Smithfield Packers Shelved
The Smithfield Retail Fulfilment Business Unit, where 36 employees prepare orders of stationery and other retail goods for post offices statewide, is set to join another Australia Post warehouse operation at Wetherill Park in March.
Morale at the Smithfield site has plunged, said union rep Blake Colbran.
"We don't trust management at all anymore because they haven't told us what's going on. We've been told there will be surplus staff but we haven't been given a new staff structure, so everyone fears they won't have a job past March," he said.
The warehouses at Smithfield and Wetherill Park are both operated by Australia Post's subsidiary business unit Post Logistics, but the Wetherill Park site was established only to store and handle goods for third party companies like department stores.
While Smithfield staff are employed under EBA 6, staff at the Wetherill Park site are on another enterprise agreement for Post Logistics third party work.
Despite promising to consult with the union over the conditions of the relocation, in October Australia Post unilaterally informed the Smithfield workers about the move and foreshadowed transferring them from EBA 6 onto the third party agreement or offering redundancy, said CEPU organiser TK Ly.
Union and Australia Post officials attended a conference at the Australian Industrial Relations Commission on 30 October, where management agreed to suspend the staff notification and renew consultations with the union.
The CEPU will fight any move to transfer the workers out of EBA 6, said Ly.
"Some of the people here have been here a very long time and no-one wants to go on to the new agreement. They're saying a base level worker will be better off, but for most people it will mean worse conditions," said Colbran.
Under the terms of EBA 6, Australia Post is not allowed to contract out Australia Post work, including the storage and supply of retail goods to post offices, which would prevent the workers being moved to the third party agreement.
Under new industrial laws, it will be difficult for the union to enshrine the same conditions into the next enterprise bargaining agreement, said Ly.
"But if this issue isn't resolved, we won't agree to recommend the new EBA7 to the members."
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