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  Issue No 99 Official Organ of LaborNet 15 June 2001  




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Trades Hall

Neale Towart's Labour Review

He may have escaped to the family farm to tend the lifestock for a few weeks, but our favourite Mullet shows he is no Joe Dirt when it comes to R.


Neale Towart


Bullying's $13 Billion Price Tag

Workplace bullying is costing Australian business between $5.9b and $13b per year, according to researchers at Griffith University's Workplace Bullying Project team. In Qld there are moves to legislate against it within the equal opportunity regime, with a Bullying Taskforce being set up with employers, unions and the Anti-Discrimination Commission represented. Jocelyn Scutt, Tasmanian EO Commissioner, has a paper detailing how bullying legislation can fit into the EO laws.

(Discrimination Alert; issue 136, June 5 2001)

Bullying, Harassment and Horseplay

The Anti-Discrimination Board has published a guideline stating what they consider bullying in the owrkplace to be, how it can be considered as discrimination, how it is used as a management tool (yelling at and intimidating staff, setting unrealistic targets, intrusive surveillance and constant threats of dismissal foe example), and, who is liable for bullying.

(Equal Time; number 48, May 20010

Women -only Strike at Electrolux

Women at Electrolux's Chef Ovens factory in Brunswick, Vic. have taken action over the company's failure to provide appropriate training opportunities. Electrolux recently acquired the factory and immediately announced plans to close it and move operations to Adelaide, with the loss of 500 jobs. The company offered two training courses, both of which required fluent English. This was a problem for most of the women, and the courses were generally not relevant for their needs anyway. The company says that Swedish management would be distressed to hear that employees were being mistreated. A petition has been presented to management by the workers.

(Discrimination Alert; issue 136, June 5, 2001)

Unregistered Collective Agreements - the Industrial Reality by Diana Taylor

The unregistered collective agreement is not placed before the AIRC for certification. Within the workplace, the agreements depend on the goodwill of the parties. Problems with enforceability appear when one party decides not to honour the agreement or when the terms are ambiguous.

The findings of the federal Court in McCormick v Riverwood International (and the full court on appeal) and of the Victorian Court of Appeal in Ryan v Textile Clothing and Footwear Union have particular significance here.

In Ryan the court determined that:

· the identity of the partied bound was ambiguous

· the capacity of the unions to contract on behalf of their members had not been established

· there was an absence of consideration moving from the unions to the employer

· the duration of the contracts were not specified

· the intention of the parties to creat a legally binding agreement could not be established.

So the court found that the agreement was not a legally enforceable contract or part of a contract of employment.

In the McCormick case the terms of McCormick's redundancy were considered. His written contract of employment did not make reference to redundancy but it did have a heading "Company Policies and Practices" that stated that the employee, by accepting the terms of the contract, agreed to abide by company policy. During the 37 years of McCormick's service, three redundancy agreements with the unions were made, the 1993 one with the PKIU. Justice Weinberg in the first instance found that redundancy terms were implied in the contract, because of company policies with regard to the agreement with unions. Weinberg also found that the agreement was unregistered and thus was not a legally binding document.

The full court agreed with the decision.

(Employment Law Bulletin; vol. 7, no. 2)

Additional Forms of Employee Representation in Australia by Paul J. Gollan, Ray Markey and Iain Ross

Additional forms of employee representation (AFER) may be defined as any representative mechanism that exist alongside of or instead of trade unions.

The authors argue that whilst AFER may be useful for more effective communication and consultation, the evidence points to their being ineffective in representing the interests of employees. There is the possibility that state sponsored AFER with training ands support could improve their effectiveness. The complexity of the world of work may be starting to show management and employees that collective representation is still vital.

(ACIRRT Working Paper no. 64)

AWAs: Changing the Structure of Wages? by Kristin van Barneveld and Betty Arsovska

The date from ACIRRT's ADAM database reveals two key differences in wage provisions between AWAs and collective agreements. Firstly, wage increases in AWAs are not guaranteed but are 'at risk', as they are typically linked to demonstrated productivity improvement through performance. Such performance is more likely to be measured at the individual rather than the group level.

Secon difference is that AWAs usually use a loaded or all in rate of pay which is usually accompanied by open ended hours of work

(ACIRRT Working Paper no. 67)


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 99 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: In Defence of the Umpire
Australian Industry Group chief Bob Herbert on why the Industrial Relations Commission is worth fighting for.
*  Unions: Diary of a Dude
One.Tel worker Warren Manners thought he had a dream job and no need for a union. That was until the money ran out.
*  Legal: Dot.Com Casualties
The high profile collapse of One.Tel had significant implications for its employees. But what about its contractors?
*  Industrial: The Shopfloor, United
Chris Christodoulou argues that without an active union membership, workplace democracy is just a pipe dream.
*  International: A Saharawi Woman's Plea
Sydney unionist Stephanie Brennan travelled to Africa to witness first-hand the struggle for independence in West Sahara.
*  History: Once Were Tuckpointers
Trawling through the files, Paul Howes stumbles upon some unions that represented workers long departed.
*  Politics: Out Of The Comfort Zone
In his new book, Brett Evans argues that while Labor is honing its reform agenda, it is still struggling to reform itself.
*  Satire: World Domination
The US has threatened not to pay the UN the money it doesn’t pay anyway.
*  Review: Wiped Out
Bread and Roses is a new movie about the struggle of invisible office cleaners to gain dignity and respect at work. Pity you won’t see it here.

»  Dudded Dudes Lead Union Fight Back
»  Redundancy Rules Promote Outsourcing
»  Workers Compo Bill Hovers
»  Della’s Pay for View Awards
»  Trades Hall Get Green Light
»  Public Works Under the Gun
»  Inner City School Closures
»  TAB Computers Push Bigger Bets
»  Shannon Plots Corporate Raid
»  Stop CSR Militants Wrecking Economy
»  NRMA Learns From the Big Boys
»  Diggers’ Records to be Outsourced?
»  Unions Back Religious Freedoms in Vietnam
»  Blair's Britain - An Insider Speaks
»  Workers Online 100th Issue Bash
»  Activists' Notebook

»  The Soapbox
»  The Locker Room
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  The May Day Wash-Out Explained
»  What's Wrong With Compo?

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