Friday, 7 September 2007


There’s a dispute between Fosters and their Brewery workers at Yatala. The report is that the employees want to involve their unions in the wage negotiations, and the employer is saying “no” on the strength of the new legislation. Strike action is being threatened. Seems passing strange that the Workchoices legislation could be the cause of an industrial dispute, given that it is supposed to deliver sweetness and light in the workplace. It will be interesting to watch the outcome.

I’ve had some interesting experiences around purchases from various businesses in the light of Workchoices. I made a decision a long time ago that I wouldn’t do business with any company that employed their workers under the new legislation. When I make large purchases such as cars or appliances, I do my research in terms of getting the best deal, and just before signing on the dotted line, pop the question as to employment conditions. If I’m told that AWAs are used – the sale is off. It’s been intriguing, and I’ve learned a bit in the process, even to the point of getting a personal letter from the CEO of Ford Australia assuring me that their work practices are above board. (They use collective bargaining).

I only needed to knock a sale back once – from Harvey Norman. Their employees refused to discuss the issue on pain of dismissal, and management referred me to head office, so I still don’t know how they employ their people. I went to a local small business, and ended up paying less for the machine, so it was a good result all round.

Given that as individuals we don’t have much political power, using financial power can be effective. The rampant materialism that is the basis of so much that drives society in 2007 can be turned against itself.

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