OWS accused of pressuring workers to sign AWAs

News

OWS accused of pressuring workers to sign AWAs

Unions have accused the Federal Government's IR watchdog, the Office of Workplace Services (OWS), of being partisan and secretly interrogating workers who are refusing to sign AWAs.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Unions have accused the Federal Government's IR watchdog, the Office of Workplace Services (OWS), of being partisan and secretly interrogating workers who are refusing to sign AWAs.

John Robertson, Secretary of Unions NSW said, last week employees from Esselte, a stationary distribution company in Minto, were driven in pairs to a meeting with officials from the OWS at the Campbelltown art gallery.

'At each meeting, workers were told they would be subpoenaed to appear in court if they refused to answer questions,' Robertson said.

He said the Esselte workers were then asked if union officials had advised them not to sign AWAs the company had introduced. Robertson said the AWAs severely cut back the workers conditions, allowances and penalties.

'This company has called in the Office of Workplace services to pressure workers into signing AWAs while pretending they are investigating unions for pressuring workers,' Robertson claimed.

Prudent decision

'It's absurd. The simple answer is that workers at this company made a prudent decision not to sign the AWAs because it's not in their interest. This is another example of federal agencies being used as enforcers of the government's political ideology.'

Robertson said at least five people were interviewed last Thursday and a further four on Friday.

A witness statement seen by Workers Online gave evidence of an Esselte manager pestering workers to sign AWAs, which strip penalty rates, wages and conditions.

Officials from the National Union of Workers said Esselte had been aggressively pushing the individual workplace agreements on 20 employees at Minto.

Not rocket science

'If the OWS is wondering why these workers aren't signing these AWAs, it's because they leave them $80 a week worse off,' said NUW NSW State Secretary Derek Belan NUW. 'Do they think our members are so stupid they'd agree to that? It's not rocket science.'

Related

WorkChoices 'enforcer' comes into operation

ACTU calls on Govt to repeal 'Cowra clauses'

OWS to investigate sacking of 'liability' Grannie

  

Post details