Another report from the frontlines…
Keep up the great work Cheryl!
All power to the workers!
Heinemann’s “negotiating” style
Monday September 25, 2006
The current dispute at Heinemann Electric Pty Ltd is the result of a lengthy period of farcical negotiations by management. Even before the current EBA had expired, Richard Ross, Heinemann’s general manager, was playing a game of cat and mouse with union delegates who were negotiating on behalf of more than two-thirds of employees.
Each time Richard Ross dutifully delivered to his employees the redrafted EBA proposals, supposedly reflecting negotiated changes, employees quickly noticed that other clauses were being changed at the same time.
It appears negotiations were nothing more than a stall tactic, while Freehills, the legal dynamites who helped draft the controversial WorkChoice IR laws, came up with a plan.
Richard Ross even sent a letter to all employees stating that he was disappointed that negotiations had appeared to fail, as he always kept his door open to anyone who wished to talk. While he relied upon his legal advice, it appears that it has hurt his feelings that workers felt the need to have more experienced and educated eyes check his proposals.
In a “door opening?” move, the managing director of Heinemann’s parent company CBI, Mr Helmuth Fischer, made a personal visit to his Australian workforce. At a meeting which was called to attention with a dog whistle personally delivered by Mr Fischer, he asked the Australian workers to please consider the South African shareholder when negotiating its new EBA. He pleaded with workers to not participate in industrial action, claiming it was vital that projects not be effected. One project he cited involved 15,000 chickens. One has to wonder if each chicken had a name, or how long they were meant for this world. Would Heinemann’s switchboards be keeping the little chicks warm in a barn so they could grow and prosper, or merely keep them frozen? One has to wonder why a company which showed such concern for 15,000 nameless chickens, has now shown such lack of compassion for all its Australian human workers.
In a show of force, Mr Helmuth Fischer concluded his meeting with the phrase, “If you want a fight, we’ll give you a fight!” I’m sure many employees were left with a warm and fuzzy feeling, and felt encouraged to visit Richard Ross’s “open door”.
How much longer can the Australian workforce be asked to submit itself to slavery for the sake of foreign [?] dollars? Shame on you Mr HoWARd, for selling your people to the highest bidder.
If you are in the area, please feel free to visit the picket line at 821 Springvale Rd, Mulgrave. On a good day, there may even be a BBQ.
A few comments :
‘Foreign’ dollars or ‘Australian’ dollars: they’re still dollars.
Fischer is playing a very old game, playing one group of workers (Australian) off against another (South African).
Bosses are like politicians: you know when they’re lying when they open their mouths to speak.
See also :
Heinemann & Freehills : Industrial Relations, South African style | Cheryl Sings the Heinemann Electric Blues | Heinemann : No pay, no safety, and no respect | Goodbye, Mr. Campbell | Stage one : Denial