3 thoughts on “Discussion Forum: Fighting for Union Rights under Labor

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  2. Unions NSW Secretary, John Robertson, bumped into parliament — from Workplace Express 10 October 2008.

    John Robertson, who will take the State Upper House seat vacated by former Treasurer Michael Costa.

    Robertson spearheaded the NSW union movement’s campaign against Work Choices, criss-crossing the State in the organisation’s orange-painted Your Rights at Work bus, and working alongside Unions NSW campaigners to create a campaign blueprint that was adopted across the country ahead of last November’s election.

    He also led the union’s successful fight against power privatisation, which generated the momentum for replacing Premier Morris Iemma and the resignation of Costa, ironically creating the vacancy to be filled by Robertson.

    Lennon to replace Robertson at peak NSW union body

    Unions NSW assistant secretary Mark Lennon looks likely to replace incumbent John Robertson, who will take the State Upper House seat vacated by former Treasurer Michael Costa.

    See http://www.workplaceexpress.com.au/nav?id=37995&no=1788538635&stream=&utm_source=instant+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Instant+Email+Article+Link

  3. UNITE & CWU protest against greedy bosses

    On Thursday October 23 the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and UNITE will join forces to protest against two of Australia’s worst employers – Australia Post and 7-Eleven.

    There will be a rally outside Australia Post HQ at 321 Exhibition Street at 3pm and a rally outside the 7-Eleven store at 237 Exhibition Street at 4pm.

    The CWU, who represent postal workers, are protesting about Australia Post bosses getting paid more while workers are being asked to accept less. The General Manager of Australia Post was paid $2.9 million last year while new posties are getting their wages cut by 15 per cent.

    UNITE has been campaigning against 7-Eleven for some weeks calling on them to pay their workers properly. Some workers have complained to UNITE that they are being paid as little as $8 per hour.

    Please come along to these two important rallies and bring union banners and flags.

    3pm Thursday October 23 outside Australia Post, 321 Exhibition Street City
    4pm Thursday October 23 outside 7-Eleven, 237 Exhibition Street City

    For more information contact the CWU on 96009100 or UNITE on 93281555.

    7-Eleven: Bullying and intimidation

    UNITE has received several reports in the past few weeks from 7-Eleven workers who say they have been bullied by their franchise owners.

    The workers have told us that there has always been low level bullying taking place but this has been stepped up as a result of the Workplace Ombudsman’s investigation into employment practices at 7-Eleven.

    Many workers have been told not to speak to UNITE organisers and to call the owner as soon as an organiser enters the shop. Others have been threatened with dismissal if they are seen to be talking to anyone from UNITE.

    At least two workers have also reported that their boss told them not to talk to inspectors from the Office of the Workplace Ombudsman. “They won’t find anything unless you give it to them” the franchise owner said.

    This is obviously interfering with the Ombudsman’s investigation and a breech of Occupational Health and Safety legislation.

    Systematic underpayments

    7-Eleven have a clear strategy which is designed to pay their workers as little as possible in order to maximise their profits. Bullying plays a big part in this strategy.

    UNITE estimates that at least 90 per cent of the 7-Eleven workforce is made up of international students. These student workers are systematically underpaid. Often they only receive half of what they are entitled to.

    Because of this underpayment, practically all of the workers are forced to work more than 20 hours a week, therefore breaking their visa regulations. Most workers report that they do not want to work more than 20 hours but can’t afford to live otherwise.

    7-Eleven franchise owners then use the fact that that the international student visa has been breeched to keep the workers in line. The workers are told that if they complain they will be reported to the Department of Immigration and deported.

    A vicious circle then develops. The workers either complain about being underpaid, and risk being sent home, or put up with it leaving 7-Eleven to steal half of their wages every week.

    Bullying in any form is illegal, but interfering with the work of the Ombudsman is a very serious matter. UNITE encourages any other 7-Eleven workers who have been bullied to come forward. We recommend that you document any incidents and report them to UNITE immediately.

    UNITE also makes another appeal to 7-Eleven workers who have been underpaid to come forward. While we understand that bullying and intimidation is taking place, we need ALL 7-Eleven workers to stand up and come forward with evidence of underpayment.

    Only on this basis we can ensure that the Ombudsman’s investigation is effective. We will then be in a much better position to reclaim the thousands of dollars of unpaid wages and fight for better conditions for both current and future 7-Eleven workers.

    Audio: UNITE against 7-Eleven

    National radio interview from The Wire 17/10/08

    Click the link below to listen to an interview about UNITE’s campaign against 7-Eleven. It features UNITE Secretary, Anthony Main; 7-Eleven Chief Operating Officer, David Ginsberg and the Director of the Young Workers Advisory Service in Queensland, Diedre Morrow. It was produced by Gemma Snowdon from The Wire.



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