The Guardian 27 July, 2005

Masterton Homes crumbles

Community action has helped a 52-year-old father of three win his job back after he was sacked for refusing to sign a pay-stripping non-union individual contract (AWA). Masterton Homes carpenter, Phil Withington, has returned to work on award conditions after refusing to give in to a contract that left him $7000 a year worse off.

Mr Withington’s reinstatement follows a campaign by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, who held a picket line outside Masterton’s Warwick Farm showroom in Sydney’s west, and encouraged the community to sign a petition and write to the company.

A Masterton employee for 26 years, Mr Withington thanked the thousands who signed the petition and wrote to the company.

"I thought I was one person, standing up for what I believe, but workers’ rights are an important issue for everyone in the community", he said.

"This has made me realise that many other people have faced a similar situation, and will continue to suffer in the same way if we do not do anything about it."

Withington said he hoped his actions would encourage people to stand up for themselves.

Among the award rights Mr Withington refused to give up were overtime and penalty rates and rostered days off.

"Our forefathers fought hard to win these workplace rights, and it is our job to keep up the struggle to make sure we pass on a better world and a better workplace to our children."

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