||Issue No. 356||21 December 2006|
Interview: The Terminator
Industrial: Vive La Resistance
Unions: Breaking News
History: Seven Deadly Sins
Economics: Back to the Future
Politics: Organising and Organisations
International: Web Retrospective
Review: Shock Therapy
All the Best
Feltex Carpets PM's Fibs
The carpet giant is appealing to the IRC full bench against two decisions by individual commissioners that its non-negotiated AWAs are "not acceptable".
Meanwhile, the TCFUA will seek a federal court ruling that proposed employment contracts are "unlawful" because the only alternative on offer is the sack.
The actions of new Feltex owner, Godfrey Hirst, blow Howard's assurances to Australians out of the water on at least three counts.
- in a taxpayer funded advertising campaign, Howard promised existing conditions would be "protected by law" for 12 months after a business takeover. Godfrey Hirst has ditched the existing collective contract and is refusing to honour its redundancy provisions for staff who don't accept AWAs.
- Howard's whole WorkChoices campaign was based on the notion of "choice". Feltex workers aren't even being given the choice to honour a negotiated contract that doesn't expire for another nine months.
- Howard promoted AWAs by promising workers would be able to negotiate contracts that met individual circumstances. Individuals at Godfrey Hirst were served up one-size-fits-all documents and given no right to negotiate on any of their contents.
TCFUA secretary, Michelle O'Neill, says the WorkChoices assurances were "completely untrue".
"There was no protection for these people when the company was sold out from under them, none at all," she said.
"And they are being given no choice about AWAs - either their content or whether or not to accept them."
O'Neill estimates long-serving staff stand to lose as much as $100,000, on redundancy alone, if they refuse to sign Godfrey Hirst's documents.
In a corporate manoeuvre becoming familiar in Howard's Australia, receivers last week flicked off the Feltex assets to Geelong-based Godfrey Hirst and left employees in an insolvent shell.
O'Neill says the 320 staff have been "magnificent", sticking together and fighting for their agreement to be honoured.
They have voted unanimously to reject the AWAs and called on Godfrey Hirst to cease dealing in "unacceptable threats".
Workers have sent "flying carpets" around Geelong and Melbourne retailers to take their case to the public.
Last week a "flying carpet" landed outside the ANZ's Collins St headquarters to remind bankers of their role in the dispute.
Feltex receivers were appointed by ANZ which is its largest creditor.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|