Interview: The New Deal
Unions: In the Line of Hire
Culture: Too Cool for the Collective?
International: The Domino Effect
Industrial: A Spanner in the Works
National Focus: Gathering of the Tribes
History: The Welcome Nazi Tourist
Bad Boss: Domm, Domm Turn Around
Poetry: Just Move On.
Review: Reality Bites
The Locker Room
The Secret Life of Us
It Is Still About The Members Isn't It
Domm, Domm Turn Around
By Jim Marr
A Tony Award, named in recognition of Tony Abbott's anti-worker attributes, would be fitting for the first council in NSW to run with the Workplace Relations Minister's campaign to move employees into a Federal system offering inferior protections.
Sydney City went down that track mid-2002, trying to shift workers out of NSW jurisdiction with an EBA that would have entrenched competitive tendering and sidelined their union, the MEU.
When workers rolled that initiative, Sydney City jumped on Abbott's inferior balloting requirements, to try again but failed again.
Next, by way of welcome, it tried to dud 400 former South Sydney workers of sick leave entitlements. The Sartor-Domm cash grab was worth between five and six million dollars.
The MEU took this case to the IRC which ruled, in line with a string of assurances from people in high places, that holiday entitlements should not be altered.
Not long after, Lord Mayor Sartor rediscovered long-dormant Labor sympathies to bags a seat at Bob Carr's ministerial table.
Domm, briefly an official with the MUA, recovered no such hidden memories and, if anything, the attacks grew more pointed.
The HR man is noted for his physical, personally aggressive approach to the job. His most recent effort has come in the guise of a Patrick-style assault on 16 garbos transferred over from Leichhardt and South Sydney when Sydney City gobbled chunks of those municipalities in May.
Sydney City used hundreds of thousands of ratepayers dollars to train up a squad of potential strike breakers from a body hire company, whilst endeavouring to slash conditions the 16 had enjoyed with their previous employers.
It boils down to the garbos still cleaning their parts of the city on the "job and finish" system common to rubbish collectors. The productivity-based arrangement recognises they work as a team, rather than individuals, actually running their routes to minimise peak hour disruptions to traffic flow.
Domm, though, doesn't like "job and finish" and has chosen to ignore Ministers of Local Government, the Governor of NSW and the Industrial Relations Commission in his bid to shelve the practise.
How so? Well, at the time of Sydney City's expansion, workers received a personal assurance from then Minister Harry Woods that their terms and conditions would not be changed to their detriment for at least three years. This was reinforced when NSW Governor Marie Bashir proclaimed the new boundaries, and repeated by current Minister Tony Kelly.
Not good enough for Domm, though. He's been deducting unworked hours from the garbos' weekly wages and has taken to threatening their jobs, via the institution of formal disciplinary procedures.
Recently, the case went before the industrial umpire. IRC deputy president Grayson said the Sydney City campaign should be put on hold while the issue was resolved by arbitration.
But Domm said "non" and kept doling out warnings, while refusing to dole out full weekly wage packets.
"Basically, he's said - stuff the Minister, stuff the Governor and stuff the Commission and gone about victimising these people," MEU legal officer Ben Kruse said.
"The disciplinary actions he has taken are a blatant step towards sacking these workers. On a number of occasions he has had labour hire people waiting outside the gates in the hope we would walk out.
"It's a campaign of provocation but our people have voted to comply with the Commissioner's recommendation and wait for arbitration."
Sydney City, and its man Domm, have joined an elite group of anti-worker activists in the running for the 2003 Award. The weight of money, though, still favours "Madam Lash", the lawyer behind the long-running Morris McMahon stand-off.
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