Tristar pays out 13 workers - rest in limbo


Tristar pays out 13 workers - rest in limbo

The Tristar redundancy saga has come to a partial resolution, with 13 of the 30 remaining workers being paid out their entitlements.


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The Tristar redundancy saga has come to a partial resolution, with 13 of the 30 remaining workers being paid out their entitlements.

The 13 workers were paid out last week after representations from the AMWU, with one employee with 44 years' service getting just under three and a half years' pay. However the company has not commented on the fate of the other 17 workers.

The case of a worker who was sacked with no entitlements for talking to the media has also been resolved without the details being released, though the AMWU says he is 'happy' with the outcome.

Unions claim the workers have had no work to do for more than a year while the company waited for the redundancy deal to expire next February. However, legislation sponsored by the Family First Senator, Stephen Fielding, earlier this year, has extended the redundancy period by an extra 12 months.

The Workplace Ombudsman is currently prosecuting Tristar in the Federal Court, claiming the way the workers have been treated amounts to 'constructive redundancy' and they should be paid their entitlements.

Savage attack on WorkChoices

Following the announcement of the redundancy payments, NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, launched a savage attack on the role played (or not played) by the Federal Government's WorkChoices legislation in the dispute.

'The Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Joe Hockey, was unable to secure the redundancy entitlements of these workers, despite legal proceedings in the Federal Court,' Della Bosca said. 'Clearly, the Howard Government does not understand that industrial disputes are not resolved through court-ordered outcomes.

'If the NSW industrial system had been used in this case, the emphasis would have been on resolving the dispute and not on the prosecution of the company.'  

Della Bosca said it was obvious that the company was attempting to use the court system to delay any independent review of the dispute, a tactic that would not have been successful under the NSW industrial system.

Total failure

'It is obvious that the WorkChoices' way of doing such business is a total failure and can only result in more stress and pain for the workers involved,' he said. 'Tying a dispute to the prosecution of an employer is cumbersome and costly for all concerned, to say the least.

'It also provides an opportunity for unscrupulous employers to engage in unnecessary and delaying legal tactics without dealing with the heart of the problem - the resolution of the industrial dispute.

'If the legal system fails to address disputes quickly, or provides uncertainty as to worker entitlements, the workers' only recourse is to have a union act on their behalf, not the Workplace Ombudsman.

Need for unions

'This successful resolution by the AMWU clearly demonstrates the need for union involvement in the functioning of a fair and equitable industrial system, something that WorkChoices can't deliver.'

Anthony Albanese, the ALP local member for Marrickville where the Tristar factory is situated in Sydney, described the Tristar situation as 'a human tragedy'.

'Essentially an unscrupulous employer has attempted to grind these workers into submission and hope that they just walk away without their redundancy payments,' he said.

Hockey urges Tristar to pay up

Minister Hockey welcomed Tristar payments and urged the company to either pay the remaining workers their redundancy entitlements or provide them with proper work.

Workplace Ombudsman officers are reviewing the situation.


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'Tristar' law change extends redundancy to 2 years



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