Friday, September 08, 2006

Compulsory Overtime.

One of the more bizarre industrial disputes, amongst the increasing number, is at Heinemann Electric company in Victoria. Fifty workers have been stood down for refusing to do overtime, in the lead up to negotiations, over a new enterprise agreement.

Having put in their ordinary forty hour week, management has refused to pay them, claiming it would be illegal to do so, because they had engaged in strike action. Failure to do overtime = strike action = no pay for work done.

Both John Howard and Kevin Andrews deny that it has anything to do with the new workplace laws. Indeed, this sought of action has been available for the last 10 years. It just has not been used before. How's that for reassurance? Isn't it still despicable that punters should lose there pay, just because they choose not to do overtime? Not so in the brave new world of boss rule.

I always imagined that overtime was something you CHOSE to do. You may negotiate away some of your precious leisure/rest time. According to the advice Heineman Electric have received from Freehills, the same legal company that helped the government draft its Workchoices legislation, it is now illegal not to do overtime.

The great graphic is by Doug Minkler. This and many others can be found here.


suki said...

Overtime, if done too often by workers already employed on a full-time basis, can hide the fact that the organisation is not creating an opportunity for 'new' staff member/s to be employed.
Moreover, many awards have minimum time gaps between ending a shift and starting another one.

WorkChoices offer little choice here!

joe2 said...

So true Suki and welcome. Workchoices is the antithesis of choice. One of the stood down workers mentioned 'slavery'. When you combine Nochoices with Welfare to Work legislation, it is sure moving in that direction.
Mark Bahnisch at L.P. reckons this issue bit, in QLD election, where there is a lot of work insecurity because of high casualisation rates. I hope Howard stays in denial.