Big companies in WorkChoices spotlight

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Big companies in WorkChoices spotlight

Giant post-it notes were stuck outside Joe Hockey’s electoral office in North Sydney as Cochlear workers ramped up their protests over denial of a union collective agreement by their employer. Meanwhile, the Workplace Ombudsman has issued a clarification regarding its prosecution of a major contractor to the Australian defence forces, which is also a major international corporation, Serco Sedexho Pty Ltd.

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Giant post-it notes were stuck outside Joe Hockey’s electoral office in North Sydney as Cochlear workers ramped up their protests over denial of a union collective agreement by their employer. Meanwhile, the Workplace Ombudsman has issued a clarification regarding its prosecution of a major contractor to the Australian defence forces, which is also a major international corporation, Serco Sedexho Pty Ltd.

Cochlear protesters take to the streets

Giant post-it notes were stuck outside Joe Hockey’s electoral office in North Sydney as Cochlear workers ramped up their protests over denial of a union collective agreement by their employer.

Tim Ayres, AMWU NSW Branch Assistant Secretary, said:

'Cochlear workers are angry that Joe Hockey is spending millions of taxpayer dollars on an advertising campaign that claims no workers can be forced to sign an individual contract.

'Yet in his own seat Cochlear is using WorkChoices to force workers onto new workplace contracts against their will.

'Under the new workplace contracts workers will have their rates of pay tied to how many units they produce each month.'

Ayers estimates that workers who have worked at Cochlear for more than 10 years could lose up to $80 each week if they cannot meet the production targets. Cochlear workers rejected these working conditions in a secret ballot run by management just over two months ago.

Question for Minister

The workers asked Mr Hockey, their local MP, to explain why they do not have the right to be represented by their union in wage negotiations.

The bionic ear manufacturer has used the Howard Government’s WorkChoices laws to confine its offer to new non-union workplace contracts.

Cochlear's position

Cochlear's management has maintained the position that the company is willing to recognise the union as the employees' bargaining agent to negotiate an employee collective agreement, but refused to negotiate the agreement as a union agreement.

Related

Cochlear must listen to workers, says union

AWA Duress Will Not Be Tolerated: Ombudsman

The Workplace Ombudsman has issued a clarification regarding its prosecution of a major contractor to the Australian defence forces, which is also a major international corporation, Serco Sedexho Pty Ltd.

The Workplace Ombudsman corrected the record to reflect that it alleges that Serco Sedexho sought to apply duress to one young and vulnerable female worker (Jessica Shepherd, then aged 20 years) to allegedly pressure her to sign an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA).

'This prosecution sends a clear warning to all employers in Australia that regardless of their size they must comply with their workers' rights or face action from the Workplace Ombudsman,' Nicholas Wilson said. 'We take allegations of duress against any worker seriously indeed, especially when the alleged victims are young and vulnerable workers. The Workplace Ombudsman is unwavering in our determination to protect these workers' rights in the courts if necessary.'

The workplace watchdog alleges that Serco Sedexho sought to duress Jessica while she was working a Mess Steward at Australian Defence College Weston, and that Jessica Shepherd believed that her employment by Serco Sedexho would not continue unless she signed the AWA.

The Workplace Ombudsman’s prosecution of Serco Sedexho commences in the Federal Magistrates Court in Sydney on 20th September. The company has cooperated with the workplace watchdog’s investigation. If the Workplace Ombudsman proves its case, Serco Sedexho faces a maximum potential penalty of $33,000 for each breach of workplace law.

Related

Ombudsman prosecutes major defence contractor

Workplace ombudsman too slow, says ACTU

WorkChoices news wrap
 

 

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