Howard called on to 'fix' Tristar dispute

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Howard called on to 'fix' Tristar dispute

Prime Minister John Howard has been called on to intervene in the Tristar dispute as the Office of Workplace Services (OWS) begins an inquiry into allegations that a worker was sacked for 'telling the truth about conditions at the company'.

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Prime Minister John Howard has been called on to intervene in the Tristar dispute as the Office of Workplace Services (OWS) begins an inquiry into allegations that a worker was sacked for 'telling the truth about conditions at the company'.

The Australian Workers Union (AWU) will today take the man's sacking to the Federal Court to have it overturned. The AWU says Tristar worker of 35 years, Marty Peek, was sacked on Friday for publicly criticising the company, which is locked in an industrial dispute with its workers.

It has been alleged that Tristar is avoiding making the long-serving workers redundant until a lucrative redundancy agreement expires.

Vocal critic

AWU NSW State Secretary, Russ Collison, said Peek has been a vocal critic of the company during the dispute.

He pleaded with Howard to personally negotiate with Tristar, saying the Government's workplace laws are to blame for the Tristar dispute.

'The action that this company's invoked is totally outrageous,' Collison said. 'It's unfair, it's unjust. and I'm really calling on our Prime Minister, John Howard, to intervene into this case — in my view he's the only person who can get any resolution to it.

'There are 30 people facing trauma every day they go into work. All we want to happen is that those people are paid out in accordance with the agreed working arrangements that they've been working under for many years.'

Fines for dismissals over OWS probes

Meanwhile OWS Director, Nicholas Wilson, said media reports suggested some Tristar employees are in apprehension of being dismissed by the company, and that this may be connected with their role in the current OWS investigation and litigation action against their employer.

OWS is taking court action alleging constructive redundancy against Tristar.

Wilson said it was 'timely' to remind employers not to disadvantage or dismiss employees for their involvement in OWS investigations.

'OWS continues to monitor Tristar and will make contact with the employer and employees about these most recent allegations,' Wilson said.

Significant penalties

'I would like to point out that the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (the Act) provides significant penalties for employers who harm or terminate an employees' employment because they have lodged a complaint with OWS, or provide evidence in a proceeding under industrial law.

'The OWS takes seriously any allegation that an employee is being singled out for their involvement in an OWS investigation.'

Wilson said in cases where a breach of the Act's Freedom of Association provisions is found, including the scenario where an employee is dismissed for their involvement in a proceeding under industrial law, the OWS can ask the Court to make:

  • an order imposing a pecuniary penalty on the defendant (up to $33,000 per breach)
  • an order requiring the defendant to pay a specified amount to another person as compensation for damage suffered by the  other person as a result of the contravention
  • any other order that the Court considers appropriate

Related

OWS hits Tristar with massive redundancy court action

NSW inquiry to 'get the facts' behind Tristar dispute

  

 

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