Aug 10, 2006

WorkChoices fails to protect redundancy payments

WorkChoices fails to protect redundancy payments

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

10 August 2006

Factory workers at the Tristar Steering and Suspension company in Marrickville have been told their jobs are likely to be axed.

In spite of there being no work at Tristar, the longest serving employees are being kept on until after 30 September, when their Enterprise Bargaining Agreement expires.

All 60 workers at Tristar fear they will lose their jobs due to the downturn in the autoparts industry, where jobs have increasingly been shifted offshore.

The workers fear that their redundancy entitlements will be slashed after their agreement expires. This is because the company has refused to guarantee that their entitlement to four weeks pay for every year of service will be fully protected after 30 September.

Given this refusal, the workers are right to be afraid.

Once the agreement expires, Tristar can apply to the AIRC to terminate the agreement, or try and make a new agreement under the government’s new industrial relations regime. Either way, there is no guarantee the workers’ entitlements will be protected.

An employee who worked for Tristar for 32 years expected a payout of $160,000, but all he and his family may get for those loyal years of service is 12 weeks’ pay. That is because the termination of the agreement after 30 September will remove the previous entitlements. This explains why it is the longest serving employees who have not been offered redundancies to date.

Tristar management have refused to even meet with me as the Federal MP to discuss their refusal to guarantee entitlements before the AIRC as recently as last week. 

Today, I asked for John Howard’s assistance to ensure the Tristar workers’ redundancy entitlements were protected. The Government’s response has been to dismiss the workers’ concerns.

This is the harsh, cold reality of John Howard’s WorkChoices for Australians and their families.

John Howard’s extreme industrial relations legislation is attacking wages and conditions when Australian families can least afford it.