The Guardian 30 March, 2005

Trouble brewing over AWAs

NSW beer barons want to scrap the five days workers are currently allowed to consider a non-union AWAs (the Federal government’s non-union agreements) before signing it.

Australian Hotels Association (AHA) general manager Andrew Vlachos thinks individual employees have too much bargaining power and has written to members promising to lobby the Howard government.

“The nature of the hotel industry is such that you have to be able (to) agree on an employment contract at the point of interview, otherwise you may not see that employee again”, Vlachos says in a newsletter to members.

Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers’ Union official Mark Boyd pointed out that many workers are not in a position to refuse AWAs, especially during an interview, and the move will disadvantage workers.

“My concern would be the AHA will convince residential hotels in Sydney to offer AWA contracts on a take it or leave it basis”, said Mr Boyd who noted that the five percent of industry workers already on AWAs have significantly worse conditions than those on the award.

“They take away penalty rates”, he said. “The majority of work done in the industry is on the weekend and late in the evening when penalty rates usually apply.

“Then they stuff around with overtime and make it a flat rate of time and a quarter for all overtime.”

Furthermore, AWAs are more likely to be casual and so have no sick pay, long service leave, annual leave or security of hours.

“AWAs are already tough enough, now they want to make them worse.”

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