Heinemann & Freehills : Industrial Relations, South African style

Praise boss when morning work-bells chime.
Praise him for bits of overtime.
Praise him whose wars we love to fight.
Praise him, fat leech and parasite.

‘All work and no pay may be immoral but it’s legal, company says’
Dan Silkstone
The Age
September 8, 2006

THEY worked all week and will be paid nothing. Their union says it is unprecedented, the workers say it is immoral. But under Australia’s workplace laws it appears to be legal.

Mulgrave company Heinemann Electrics is refusing to pay 54 workers for five days of work last month because they placed a ban on working overtime during that period as part of an industrial campaign for a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

Despite working 38 hours between August 22 and August 28, all of the workers have been told they will not be paid because of a decade-old provision in Australian workplace law that, the company says, prohibits employers from paying workers during industrial action.

Before taking the action, Heinemann received legal advice from Freehills — a key architect of the HoWARd Government’s new industrial relations legislation. Heinemann said yesterday it had no choice but to refuse to pay or it would be in breach of the Workplace Relations Act.

But ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the action was a “monstrous interpretation” of the law. “These men have worked for five days for no pay,” she said. “Does the Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews think that this is fair?”

[Is that a rhetorical question Sharan?]

A similar question was put to Prime Minister John HoWARd in question time yesterday by the Opposition [sic]. “If you work for 40 hours and there are no countervailing circumstances, of course you should get paid,” he said.

Partial work bans have long been used as a moderate tactic in disputes. But Electrical Trades Union secretary Dean Mighell said the company’s action would have a big effect on union tactics.

He said the new interpretation would leave workers no alternative but to stop work entirely, a move the Mulgrave workers took yesterday. “Total warfare or nothing,” he said. “That’s where Australian industrial relations is now at, tragically.”

The workers’ overtime ban had been approved by the Industrial Relations Commission and was considered a legal action under the WorkChoices legislation. Overtime was not compulsory at the factory.

Heinemann general manager Richard Ross said the company had acted appropriately: “We had to look at it and apply the law in the correct way,” he said. “That’s what we did, it’s nothing more than that.” Asked if it was immoral to accept workers’ labour and refuse to pay for it, he said: “Is there a moral requirement for me to break the law?”

Mr Andrews said the matter would be investigated by the Office of Workplace Services to see if the company had acted properly. The dispute relates to a new enterprise bargaining agreement, under which the company wants an arrangement where staff work an average 38-hour week over a month. Workers could be required to work 20 hours one week and 60 the next.

South African company Circuit Breaker Industries took over Heinemann two years ago and has since received repeated warnings from WorkSafe for bullying workers.

Nalin Nawagamuwage has assembled circuit boards at the factory for 13 years and said the new owners had been a nightmare. “They are really arrogant and grumpy … The water cooler is broken so we ask for it to be replaced, they just took it away … Everyone working here has been very stressed.”

Heinemann Electrics sounds like the kinda place that would welcome neo-fucking-Nazis in its ranks!

You pick on the weak
You’re only strong in groups
Can’t do shit on your own
You pick on those who are few
Right winged scum
You have no place in our scene
Right winged scum
We’ll teach you what SOLIDARITY really means

Contact : Heinemann Electrics | Freehills

[See also : Union Solidarity | Zabalaza!]

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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One Response to Heinemann & Freehills : Industrial Relations, South African style

  1. blogggit says:

    Philip Ruddock-South African Style

    SOME OLD NEWS FROM PHILIP RUDDOCK. He has no feeling or empathy for anyone except his stamp collection.

    PHILIP RUDDOCK is now Australia\’s Attorney General. Philip Ruddock is also known as the \”Walking Cadaver\”.


    The following is an article from the Sydney Morning Herald, September 17th, 1996.


    The Government will cap and kill applications by Australians to bring their overseas spouses into Australia [in] a move which would see long-term separations of married couples unless the Opposition allows through the Senate tough new measures to curb applications.

    The Minister for Immigration, Mr Ruddock, said the draconian move, allowable under present law but never used in relation to spouses, would help curb huge increases in applications for spouses, some of which were shams, but others \’a fraud on Australians\’.

    Under present practise, applications for offshore spouses to come are allowed regardless of the quota set. Mr Ruddock wants to enforce his quota by a cap and queue regulation, making applicants after the qouta is reached to wait, possibly for months, until heading the queue for next year\’s intake.

    But in the face of Labor opposition in the Senate, he threatened to use his general cap and kill power to terminate applications made post-qouta. This would force Australians to apply again next year on equal terms with next year\’s applicants, causing indefinite separations.

    Mr Ruddock\’s threat, which contradicts the Coalition\’s strong pro-family rhetoric but is part of a clampdown on migration numbers,was denounced by Labor\’s immigration spokeman, Mr Duncan Kerr, as social engineering.

    The Opposition last week knocked off in the Senate one of several changes to regulations to tighten eligibility for \’preferential family\’ migration, available to spouses and aged parents.Mr Kerr told the Herald Labor would also disallow Mr Ruddock\’s \’cap and queue\’ regulation.

    Mr Ruddock told the Herald that if people who had already applied were allowed in, the progam would overstep this year\’s 36,700 quota by about 13,000. Rather than allow an overshoot, he would use his general power under current law to cap and kill, unless Labor stopped trying to micro-manage his immigration program by disallowing regulations in the Senate.

    Mr Kerr said that \’Australians have always exercised their own choice on who they\’ll marry,and I don\’t believe any red-blooded Australian will allow the Government to force couples to queue up to live together. Now he\’s saying if he can\’t queue them he\’ll cut them off.

    \’If you meet and marry in January, that\’s OK, but if you\’re a December bride or groom you mightn\’t be able to get your spouse in for years.\’

    Mr Ruddock said he did not regard cap and terminate as the best outcome, but \’if it is necessary I will be applying it\’.

    He said Labor had maintained a steady 37,000 quota for four years, before lifting it last year to 50,000. Many people had reported partners \’walking out the door as soon as they arrive in Australia. \’The fraud is being occasioned on Australians by people seeking to migrate,\’ he said.

    Mr Kerr blamed the increase on the wash-up of the Tiananmen Square massacre, under which Labor granted 40,000 Chinese people refugee status. But Mr Ruddock said the rises in applications across the board, and the percentage increase was as great in England.

    Article from the Sydney Morning Herald, August 25th, 1997.


    \”Reactionary bean counters\’ viewed families as a burden and believed the only people who should be allowed to migrate to Australia were individuals with money.

    Australia was simply lucky to get away with those old discriminations but we will not be so lucky again.The world turned on apartheid South Africa. I don\’t want Australia to become the new world target because racism is allowed to penetrate our political and administrative systems.\”

    [From the outgoing head of the Ethnic Communties Council of NSW.]

    JOHN HOWARD – The Lying Rodent. John Howard wants free trade but not the free movement of people. He thinks Australia\’s biggest assets are its sheep, coal and uranium not people. He says he has the final solution to our problems.

    The Blacklist

    \”Philip Ruddock gazetted regulations when he was Australia\’s immigration minister [number S241 of 1997] to stop visitors from many countries coming to Australia and among them is Poland. [Israel is also on the list as well as the following countries – Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Fiji, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mauritius, Nauru, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tonga, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Yugoslavia].\”

    More at



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