The Guardian 13 April, 2005

AWA rip-off

Sixty Tasmanian women could be owed a total of $1 million after stuffing envelopes for four years on flat-rate Australian Workplace Agreements (individual, non-union work contracts) that deny overtime and weekend penalty rates. Three of the women, employed by Print Mail Logistics at Hobart and Kingston, have not been rostered for any shifts since challenging their employer over all-in rates of more than $2.50 below the award minimum.

The trio has joined the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) in a bid to win back pay and end the company’s cheating of their colleagues.

AMWU organiser, Donna Sargent, says Print Mail Logistics has a bad name in the industry. "Not only are they ripping off their employees, they’re under-cutting contracts to get the work", she said.

The AMWU has filed actions against Print Mail Logistics before the Anti-Discrimination Board and the Tasmanian Industrial Relations Commission.

The union alleges the dismissed workers lost their jobs because of union membership, and is seeking $20,000 in back pay through the Commission.

Ms Sargent said that if other workers join the union, the back pay claim will rocket into the high six-figures because of significant overtime hours.

Casual table hands at Print Mail Logistics are expected to work up till midnight, and on weekends for a flat hourly rate of $13.00 under AWAs being pushed by the Howard government. The minimum Monday-Friday casual rate in the Graphic Arts award is $15.36.

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