'Sign or be sacked' is new AWA rule, says union

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'Sign or be sacked' is new AWA rule, says union

Workers at a Sydney company have been given a 'sign or be sacked' ultimatum on new AWA agreements, according to the National Union of Workers (NUW).

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Workers at a Sydney company have been given a 'sign or be sacked' ultimatum on new AWA agreements, according to the National Union of Workers (NUW). 

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The union says the workers were outsourced without warning to a labour hire firm, which offered them their existing jobs conditional on agreeing to the terms of employment contained in an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA).  

NUW NSW State Secretary Derek Belan said more people would be 'chewed up and spat out by companies or agencies offering a pittance' if Prime Minister John Howard got his way on workplace deregulation.  

The 'sign or you're sacked' employment offer would become the norm, he warned.  

Workers protest

Belan said the company employed 18 people, aged 16-25, working under a State award.  

'Fourteen have signed a petition saying that they don't want to be put on an AWA,' he said.  

'The AWA they have been offered strips their conditions, putting them on a seven-day roster where they can be employed anywhere and at anytime with minimal notice. 

'They lose guaranteed weekly hours.'  

The NUW's Mark Ptolemy said the young workers 'have been fed to an aggressive and greedy labour hire agency, with an offer much less than what they had'.  

'They have been given an ultimatum that they either sign their individual contracts or hit the road,' he said. 

In legislation announced last week the Federal Government intends to strip the 'no disadvantage' test from awards and replace it with the minimum wage provisions and four basic entitlements, including annual leave, maternity leave and maximum working hours.  

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