|Issue No 83||09 February 2001|
Fantastic Win for Furniture Workers
The previously non-unionised workforce at Fantastic Furniture have emerged victorious after undertaking collective action backed by enthusiastic student support this week.
The management's about faced followed a noisy rally by more than 60 members of Students Against Sweatshops outside its Moore Park outlet, which forced the closure of the store.
They have now agreed to work with CFMEU to address workers concerns about wages and conditions and work towards an Enterprise Agreement to cover the factory workers.
Rebecca Fawcett, from the ACTU summer organizing campaign, who has been working with the CFMEU says the workers largely from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds had initially been too intimidated to stand up to their employer.
"When we first went in the conditions were appalling, The women had to use a portaloo, there was no drinking water and there were leaking pipes near electrical equipment," Fawcett told Labor Council.
"There were no union members and worker seemed to scared to do anything about it," she says. But since the workers got organized, the turnaround has been remarkable.
"We went bench to bench just talking to the workers, asking them about their concerns -which were numerous. They did seem a bit frightened to express these in front of other workers- and we did find out later that the boss had spies at meetings we had organised."
"Some of the guys working for Fantastic claimed to have been casual for up to 18 months, when by law they are only supposed to be casual for 12 weeks."
"Clearly there were major breaches aand it was hard work getting that out of the workers ... its a slow process organising ... there are no shortcuts but you can't beat the satisfaction"
"The workforce have now flexed their muscle and the gains have been significant: they now have a unionized workforce which is prepared to stand up for their rights."
Interview: Dispatch from Davos
ACTU President Shahran Burrow reports back on the trade union movement’s presence at last week’s meeting of the heavyweights of global capital.
Unions: After the Gold Rush
Recent mass sackings at high-profile e-businesses are beginning to expose the flimsiness of the ‘jobs for all’ predictions made on behalf of the sector.
Economics: The Other Davos
While the world’s business leaders met in Davos, a very different gathering was taking place in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Pat Ranald was there.
Politics: While We Were Snoozing
As we lay in our banana chair through summer the political world kept turning with a new man in the White House. Here’s what we missed while we were off the air.
History: Federation Day, 1901
One hundred years after Australia became a nation, Ralph Sawyer relives the original Federation Day through the eyes of Billy Hughes.
International: Burma: The Struggle Continues
As the internatinal community moves to bring Burma to account, APHEDA - Union Aid Abroad is working on the ground.
Review: Inside the Journopolis
In his new book, Rob Johnson brings the infamous Cash for Comment Affair to life.
Satire: Families Demand Longer Work Hours
A new report confirms the long held suspicion that employees who reduce their workload to spend more time with their spouse and children just end up annoying their families even more.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005