|Issue No 51||28 April 2000|
Dial-A-Contract Hits Call Centres
The Employment Advocate is targeting the burgeoning call center industry with do-it-yourself formula Australian Workplace Agreements in a bid to counter trade union inroads in the sector.
Unions have accused Employment Advocate Jonathon Hamberger of doing Peter Reith's bidding in encouraging companies to lock unions out of workplaces by adopting contract-based pattern bargaining and denying employees freedom choice.
The special kits are advertised on the Employment Advocate's website, packaged as "a new framework for AWAs ... in Australia's booming call center industry".
"Being a relatively new industry, employment arrangements in call centers tend to be rather undeveloped," the OEA gushes. "The new framework will help develop arrangements without imposing uncompetitive arrangements on the industry."
"The framework developed by the OEA in conjunction with the Australian Teleservices Association provides for a significant degree of flexibility at a local level," the Advocate concludes in its latest newsletter.
Bad Track Record for AWAs
Australian Service Union organizer Sally McManus says call centre workers will be suspicious of individual contracts given the sorry record in the industry to date.
"AWAs have denied employees freedom of choice over what sort of agreement they want; playing workers off against each other and workers off against the unemployed.
"To talk about flexibility is just code for 'flex-ploitation'
"With the extremely high turnover rate ion the call center industry employers are already offering AWAs as a take it or leave it option and this will only worsen the situation.
Employees in then industry are already disgruntled by level of stress and not being listened to by management, this will only make it worse.
Hamberger Out of Control
NSW Labor Council secretary Michael Costa says the AWA push was further evidence that the Employment Advocate was out of control.
"This office was set up to meet a commitment by John Howard that no Australian worker would be worse off under a Coalition Government.
"But instead of ensuring workers get a fair go, the Advocate spends its time harassing trade union and encouraging employers to push workers onto individual contracts.
"And as these contracts show, the AWA process is becoming a form of pattern bargaining - something Peter Reith blasts the unions for pursuing."
Costa says the OEA should be working to ensure workers have a right to join unions, particularly in light of stats showing far more workers want to be in unions than are.
Interview: Wrestling With Reith
CPSU national secretary Wendy Caird has faced the full force of Peter Reith's attack on the federal public sector. The good news is she's still fighting.
Unions: The Organiser
As the nature of working life changes fundamentally, union organisers like Sally are taking up the challenge and changing too.
Safety: Remembering the Fallen
NSW Industrial Relations Minister Jeff Shaw's keynote address to mark the International Day of Mourning for Deaths in the Workplace.
History: May Day Connections
May Day as a modern working class celebration and commemoration began from the 1886 events in Chicago where workers were demonstrating for an eight hour day. But the day already had special significance for working people before then.
Women: Swelling the Ranks
Jenny Wright wears the honour of being the nation's first pregnant wharfie modestly. But it's not all clear sailing for this trailblazer.
International: Dawn Raid to Arrest Korean Union Leaders
Riot police have broken into the office of the Daewoo Motors Workers Union in Pupyung, near Seoul, and taken union leaders into custody for the "crime" of leading a militant struggle to save the jobs of Korean auto workers.
Satire: Angry Star City Staff Strike it Unlucky
Gamblers panicked when they discovered they were locked out of the Casino when 1800 workers walked out.
Review: The World of Wobbly Window Cleaners
A new book 'Reshaping the Labour Market' shines the spotlight on the impact of labour market deregulation.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005