The Guardian 16 February, 2005

Why the boss crossed the road

A Melbourne businessman with three homes and two Porsches has flicked 110 staff to set-up shop across the road. ABM Plastics owner, Abe Waisman, is planning the new development, ABM Seal Pac, a stone's throw from picketing former employees dudded of $2.5 million in redundancy pay.

Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union organiser, Jamie Bellerby, said Porsche-driving Waisman owns a "mansion" in Brighton, and properties at Lorne and on the Sunshine Coast.

Stranded workers have been left battling administrators who want them to complete the last month of work, but to accept only 20 cents in the dollar on their redundancy entitlements.

Some have been at ABM Plastics, located in Melbourne's Braeside, for over 25 years and are owed 18 months worth of redundancy.

Meanwhile, staff have told Amcor, the company that bought factory machinery from the administrators, none of it will cross their picket line.

"We aren't going to let fitters in to unbolt them unless these guys get what is rightfully theirs", Mr Bellerby warned.

Staff are disappointed that the administrator, GE Finance, backed out of an eleventh-hour deal that would have sold ABM Plastics to a company keen to continue operations and retain more than half the workforce.

"All the parties need to get together and work out how we are going to make up the $1 million shortfall", said Mr Bellerby. "That includes unions, creditors, administrators and the new purchaser, Amcor.

"We need to achieve a better outcome, so workers get their full entitlements, the administrator can recover at least 90 percent of their client's debt instead of 60, and Amcor can have its machinery when and where it sees fit."

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