|Issue No 52||05 May 2000|
Olympics Pay Fight Hots Up
Public sector workers have given the State Government 14 days to come good on a $3 per hour Olympics allowance while rail workers have withdrawn from extensive Games preparations as their claim comes to a head.
The public sector unions gave the government the two week ultimatum on Thursday, but the Rail Tram and Bus Union upped the ante late today imposing bans on all Games preparation immediately.
RTBU state secretary Nick Lewocki says it's been more than 24 months since his members made their claim
Transport workers will bear the brunt of Sydney 2000 mayhem, with trains running to a 23-per hour day peak.
"It would appear that the government has decided on a course of trying to force an industrial dispute over the Olympic allowance proposal at the eleventh hour which is totally unacceptable," Lewocki says.
"We lodged this claim with the State Government on January 7, 1998 and in all certified enterprise agreements since this date the Olympic claim has been included in leave reserve clauses."
Lewocki says the government has handled the claim in a "cavalier" fashion and will now work to the award du5ring the games.
Among other things, this will mean the government having to employ a further 500 security guards over the Games period.
Meanwhile, Representatives of other public sector workers including police, fire brigade, ambulance and general public servants on altered duties will meet in a fortnight to consider industrial action if there's no movement
Gibberish from Gallagher
Meanwhile, NSW Opposition industrial relations spokesman, Michael Gallagher has burst onto the public stage after more than a year of silence.
The man they call 'The Shadow' this morning attacked a claim by his former colleagues in the police force, ambulance, fire brigade officers, transport workers and public servants to be compensated for increased duties during the games period.
The basis of Gallagher's attack - that the unions have breached an undertaking to not seek any wage rises - wrong.
"It is clear that the Opposition spokesman on industrial relations does not know the difference between a wage claim and an allowance," Costa says.
"As this is a fundamental principle of industrial relations one can only question his capacity for understanding his portfolio.
"The facts are that the union movement has been responsible during the Games preparation. Construction came in on time and under budget. Workers at Olympic venues have settled on an award to avoid Atlanta-style wage blowouts.
"But public sector workers who will be denied leave and face massive increases in work intensity have a legitimate claim to an allowance for the period of the event. (Michael Gallagher please note: allowances are linked to an event, wage claims are for ever).
"Rail timetables, for example will run to a 23 hour peak, that means a lot more stress and hard work for those in the industry.
"To deny workers in emergency services a modest pay bonus for the massive dislocation to their working lives is not only mean-spirited, but will undermine the goodwill of workers required to make this event run smoothly."
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Unions: Laying It On the Line
A complex international legal web underpins a long-running South Coast picket.
International: Alive and Kicking
Those representing right wing political forces and strategists for multi-national corporations would be disappointed by the success of the recently concluded Congress of the WFTU in Delhi.
Economics: Fair Trade not Free Trade
The successful MAI and Seattle campaigns have sparked a new debate about the role of the World Trade Organization.
History: The Manchester Movement
Manchester, in Asa Briggs memorable phrase, was the shock city of the early nineteenth century, a small and obscure market town that in a matter of a few years had become a huge city.
Satire: Passing the Buck
Government report tells bosses how to lie and pass the buck: Reith blames Kemp
Review: A Book to Set the Left Right
The Australian Finacial Review's Stephen Long gives his verdict on 'Tales from the new Shop Floor'.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005