Expiry of agreement cost Radio Rentals worker  		$85,000, Labor says

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Expiry of agreement cost Radio Rentals worker $85,000, Labor says

Labor has claimed in Federal Parliament that three long serving workers at Radio Rentals in Adelaide had not been made redundant until after their collective agreement had expired, costing one of them $85,000 in redundancy pay.

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Labor has claimed in Federal Parliament that three long serving workers at Radio Rentals in Adelaide had not been made redundant until after their collective agreement had expired, costing one of them $85,000 in redundancy pay.

The workers at the Adelaide office of Radio Rentals have been locked out for a month since last weekend after a four hour strike, and told they cannot come back to work until they agree to take no further industrial action.

Kate Ellis, the Member for Adelaide, told the House of Representatives that the conflict centres on the conditions of employment of the Prospect store's service technicians, whose collective contract was terminated by Radio Rentals earlier this year under the WorkChoices legislation.

'The proposed replacement collective agreement was deemed inadequate by the employees, and following the termination of the agreement, three long-serving technicians - with 30, 26 and 17 years service with the company - were made redundant,' she said.

More generous

'Unfortunately for them, the terminated agreement had included more generous redundancy payments, which had been negotiated through collective bargaining, rather than higher rates of pay.

'As a result of being made redundant, following the termination of the agreement, one of these technicians lost $86,000 in redundancy pay. The remaining staff members, none of whom has received a pay increase since 2003, were offered AWAs. The AWAs offered a pay increase of only 1%, and 2.5% conditional on what have been described as impossible production targets.'

Ellis said Radio Rentals unilaterally denied the employees a right to choose collective bargaining and pursue a fair collective agreement, even though the majority of the affected employees 'wanted to do just that'.

Protected action

'With negotiations stalled, over half of the affected technicians determined to apply for protected industrial action in what is the first instance of industrial action in South Australia under the Federal Government's new WorkChoices legislation,' she said.

'They did everything by the book - applying to the Industrial Relations Commission for a secret ballot, balloting affected members, notifying Radio Rentals management three days in advance of the industrial action and then taking only four hours in a protected action last Thursday afternoon.

'However, in response, in an overly heavy-handed manner, Radio Rentals management determined to lock these workers out, without pay, for a month. They changed the locks and ensured that these workers were denied access when they returned to work.'

'Treatment is disgusting'

'The way that these Radio Rentals technicians are being treated is disgusting,' she said. 'But what is more disgusting is that the Howard Government not only allows this treatment to take place but its laws encourage it.

'The only choice for these workers is to take the AWA or be locked out of their workplace, without pay, for a month.'

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