The Guardian 22 June, 2005

Standover tactics at Hertz

Car detailers at Perth airport are being threatened and abused in a bid to keep them on below-par individual contracts. The workers have been called "wankers" and received threatening messages in Hertz envelopes.

They are trying to ditch unregistered contracts forced onto them by the WA manager for the hire car company.

"We signed an agreement we didnít agree with", said Transport Workers Union (TWU ) delegate Nicki Shea. "We were forced to sign, there was no negotiation."

The car detailing facility works 365 days a year and employees want union wages and penalty rates for working evenings and giving up weekends and public holidays.

When they met outside the facility on May 27 the husband of the WA state manager called staff a "pack of wankers". The WA manager was forced to apologise for her husbandís behaviour.

A threatening note was left under Ms Sheaís windscreen. The note, inside a Hertz envelope, said, "Not so clever now are you all? Nice car hope it is allright [sic]". The matter has been referred to the police.

The Hertz employees have slammed the threats as "stand over tactics".

The workers took protected industrial action, which resulted in them being locked out over the long weekend of June 4-6.

"Itís not a very pleasant place to work", says Nicki Shea. "This will only be stemmed when Hertz is prepared to sit down and negotiate in a mature and professional fashion with its workers.

"A fair go is all that is asked. We want to be covered by a TWU agreement."

Noted TWU organiser Rick Burton, "We havenít even got Howardís system and already a renegade company thinks that it can contract outside the award system." The union has taken the matter to the WA Industrial Commission.

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