Tags: wages and conditions

25 Feb 2006, Comments Off on Coming to a workplace near you

Coming to a workplace near you

Author: Helen

Remember when the IR legislation was going through, we were told “this bill in its present form will provide more jobs [and] higher wages,” and “In 12 months time people will be wondering what the fuss was about…” ?

Now as the new laws are about to take effect, the message appears to have changed to “ha, ha, sucked in badly”, just as I’d feared. The management at a car parts factory in Clayton have gleefully begun cutting their workers wages and conditions.

ACTU secretary Greg Combet and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union secretary Doug Cameron addressed a stopwork meeting of more than 200 Dana employees outside the company’s Clayton plant yesterday, over what they say are Dana’s plans to drastically cut workers’ wages and conditions.

The company’s enterprise bargaining demands, put to the union this month, are for a 5 per cent drop in pay for current workers, 20 per cent pay cut for new workers, removal of rostered days off and restrictions on sick day and overtime entitlements.

20 per cent!? This went far beyond anything I expected, and I thought I was a pessimist.

Despite his unbelievable demands, and the fact that the company made he still made a net profit of $25 million last year, the Dana boss, Bob Day, still described the stopwork meeting as a “grandstanding publicity stunt”. That’s chutzpah.

Mr Day said Dana had not asked employees to work for $1 an hour as in China or India.

But he had his fingers crossed behind his back when he said that, since his next utterance was:

“We’re trying to invest in technology and (remove) some of the manacles and shackles that people like the AMWU place on you so that you can achieve productivity that’s achievable in other parts of the world.”

“Other parts of the world” is a bit of a giveaway.

I was halfway through this post when I clicked on Larvatus Prodeo and found out that Qantas, too, is trying to cut its workers pay and conditions.