Interview: Union for the Dispossessed
Unions: Joel's Law
National Focus: Spring Carnival
Bad Boss: Fina and Fiends
Industrial: The Price of War
Economics: Who's Got What
History: Containing Discontent
Review: An Honourable Wally
Poetry: The Colours of Discontent
Governing the Corporates
Fina and Fiends
They subjected staff to three, four and five person verbal assaults; refused to sign wage cheques when they fell due, and that wasn't the end of it either.
They harassed a woman of 13-years service, refused to allow her union or other representation in meetings with management, then put her off on unspecified leave while dark tales whistled around town. Eventually, under public pressure, their barrister gave an undertaking they would provide a list of concerns. It took another six weeks for them to cobble together a list of questions that spanned 30 pages.
When the union advised Kathy Tsanis not to answer while she was on workers compensation, as a result of their intimidation, they sacked her.
So, who are they that so capture the essence of Tony Abbott's approach to workplace relations, even after the Monk has wandered away and found a new icon to descrate?
You may well think it would be some nasty multi-national but you would be wrong. In fact, this month's Tony Award nomination goes to the publicly-funded Illawarra Ethnic Communities Council and new-broom leaders, for want of a better term, who have turned staff lives to misery.
Heading the list is local real estate agent, turned Community Council treasurer, Gaetano Fina. High up also are the organisation's chairman, one Ken Habak, and fellow board member, Dr Eli Storey.
It was Storey, according to employees, who delivered the immortal words that told job delegate, Elio Gatti, that his services were no longer required.
At least two of their number insist Storey's speech went very much like this: "By the power invested in me, I dismiss you."
It came well after normal finishing time on a Friday evening as board members tried to square away their decision not to pay employees that week.
Storey's memorable contribution to Illawarra IR lore occurred shortly after the fiery Fina had asked the delegate to pass him the phone book so he could ring police to have Gatti removed.
Gatti's sacking, the lack of wages and the apparent disappearance of stood- down administrative manager, Tzanis, provoked 16 ASU members to strike for three days.
But it seems to have been the odd-ball treatment of Tzanis that has knotted most knickers. Not least, publication in the local media of legal advice that she had been "dancing" while off under a Workcover certificate.
Well, yes, Tzanis says, she did have a dance that night during an evening hosted by the Spanish and Italian communities she had worked with for years.
Her representatives point out that the leave she was on stemmed from the unexplained stand-down masterminded by Fina. As the accusations and pressure mounted her health had deteriorated.
Suffering heart troubles and depression, Tzanis, the 13-year servant of the Council who had worked her way up to administrative manager, was receiving medical and psychological treatment.
The strong recommendations, from both sources, was that she get out and live as normal a life as possible while her future hung in the balance.
It was, Workers Online sources say, not as though she tried to hide anything. She was taken to the event by former colleagues in the knowledge that Community Council board members would be present.
But it's not only the workers being mowed through by Fina and friends. They also wrestled the organisation's books away from the auditor appointed by the annual general meeting, and voted out board members who felt staff should have been treated with a little more respect.
Fina, Habak, Storey and their version of the Illawarra Ethnic Communities have well and truly earned this month's Bad Boss distinction.
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