Jan 23, 2007

Tristar – Mr John Beaven

Tristar – Mr John Beaven

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

23 January 2007

Mr John Beaven is a Tristar worker who has cancer of the bowel and liver. He is in Calvary Hospice, and is expected to live only a few more days. He turned 61 yesterday.

When he dies, Mr Beaven will leave three children, who are studying, aged 17, 19 and 21. The children lost their mother, Mr Beaven’s wife, on Christmas Eve 2005.

John Beaven’s first and only job was as the Accounts Manager at Tristar, where he has worked for the past 43 years. Wages are relatively low, and Mr Beaven has very little superannuation. Tristar has no work and is expected to close its factory. Tristar invited all of its employees to take voluntary redundancy, as a way of minimising their payments.

Mr Beaven applied for voluntary redundancy on 12 December 2006. Since that time, the 20 other applications for voluntary redundancy were granted within days, except Mr Beaven’s.

Instead, the company has continued to pay Mr Beaven his sick leave, because as long as he is sick, he is not “redundant”. Once Mr Beaven dies, he will be “deceased”, not “redundant”, so the company won’t have to pay his redundancy payment at all.

John Beaven’s total redundancy payment would be around $50,000 – not very much for a lifetime’s loyal service. Without the redundancy payment, his children will have nothing to live on after he dies.

Mr Beaven’s family called the company last Wednesday, telling Tristar that Mr Beaven has only days to live, yet the company’s Director, Chen Hong, refused to consider Mr Beaven’s application. Today, Mr Hong hung up on broadcaster Alan Jones, who has drawn attention to Mr Beaven’s plight.

I raised Tristar’s treatment of its workers in Parliament on 9 and 10 August 2006, including questioning the Prime Minister, with no adequate response. The Howard Government should use its influence to ensure this shameful treatment is not allowed to continue.

Mr Beaven has worked hard his whole life. He has the right to die with some peace and dignity, in the knowledge that he does not leave his children in poverty.

As revealed by the tragedy of Mr Beaven’s situation, this company’s treatment of its employees is abhorrent and morally reprehensible. Its heartless disregard for its workers offends Australian values.

I condemn Tristar for its actions, and I call on the company to immediately pay Mr Beaven his redundancy payment before he dies.