WorkChoices: Bishop prays, Postal union complains

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WorkChoices: Bishop prays, Postal union complains

Canberra's Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power today led prayers asking that cleaners in the capitol continue to enjoy fair and decent wages and working conditions. Meanwhile the postal workers union has accused Australia Post of sending a spy to Blacktown's anti-WorkChoices rally while stripping $100 a week out of low paid employees wages.

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Canberra's Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power today led prayers asking that cleaners in the capitol continue to enjoy fair and decent wages and working conditions. Meanwhile the postal workers union has accused Australia Post of sending a spy to Blacktown's anti-WorkChoices rally while stripping $100 a week out of low paid employees wages.

Bishop prays for fair deal for cleaners

Canberra's Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Pat Power today led prayers asking that cleaners in the capitol continue to enjoy fair and decent wages and working conditions.

Bishop Powell was at the Clean Start: Fair Deal for Cleaners rally, where Canberra cleaners asked the local bosses of a multi-national cleaning company ISS, why they discriminated against local people by attacking wages and conditions.

'Our people are angry that the local ISS bosses are out of sync with their global head office, who back workplace rights agreements which support the highest standards in the treatment of their workforce,' said Lyndal Ryan, ACT LHMU Assistant Secretary.

Ryan said major tenders for the cleaning of high-rise office blocks in the Woden business district are about to be issued.

Low wage bids

'Local representatives for the global cleaning giant ISS have indicated they will be placing low wage bids - bids that will lead the race to cut cleaners' minimum wage standards,' Ryan said.

Bishop Power's prayers called for good conscience to be exercised in the assessment of which company should be awarded these contracts - asking that a 'fair wages company' rather than a 'low wages company' should win the tender.

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Union claims Australia Post had spy at rally

The postal workers union has accused Australia Post of sending a spy to Blacktown's anti-WorkChoices rally while stripping $100 a week out of low paid employees wages.

The CEPU claims the company's Nepean manager harassed Post employees at the Blacktown rally, taking photos and recording names of protestors. The union has sent a 'please explain' to Post, demanding a clarification of its position on the 'snooping'.

NSW CEPU Secretary, Jim Metcher, said dozens of posties, who were not rostered to work, turned up to the Blacktown rally after colleagues were ordered to stay away by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. Australia Post won IRC orders preventing employees from attending rallies anywhere in Australia.

Denied rights

'Postal workers are not only contesting the WorkChoices law but [also contesting] the giving of orders to deny them the democratic right to protest,' Metcher said.

Metcher said posties had intended being a visible part of the protests, using bikes and vans to illustrate their anger. Metcher also claimed Australia Post has unilaterally changed shift rosters to deny new starters and posties who transfer between sites, allowances that boosted their wages by around $100 a week.

He said that, over time, those allowances had been factored into ordinary earnings, so the decision cuts core wages from $37,000 to $32,000 a year.

'For a lot of people that can be the difference between meeting the mortgage payments and losing the family home,' Metcher said.

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