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Heinemann Enters 4th Week

category indonesia / philippines / australia | workplace struggles | news report author Saturday September 30, 2006 12:16author by a strike supporter Report this post to the editors

Support the strikers

Heinemann Electric workers now enter their fourth week of strike action, and the news doesn’t really change.

Employees held their breath briefly last week when it looked as though negotiations were going to be reopened, with one of their key demands being agreed upon. Unfortunately, this was another red herring from that bumbling captain of industry, Mr Richard Ross.

So, what has Mr Ross been doing these past four weeks to repair the growing rift between management and staff? You know the old saying, ‘If you’ve got nothing to do, call a meeting!’

It appears that the company, while claiming poverty when it comes to paying it’s employees a decent wage and securing overtime penalties and entitlements, has bucket loads of donations to throw at our impoverished legal system.

Last week, Mr Ross called for two commission hearings, which are certainly not cheap, especially when you consider the entourage of barristers he surrounds himself with. These last two hearings were attempts to change the status of the already deemed legal ‘peaceful protest’ to an illegal strike. Interesting, considering he went to the trouble of posting little notices saying that he respects their rights to protest.

So, why is Mr Ross suddenly so concerned about the fact that 46 people have taken to camping outside his establishment? Why is he suddenly making offers like, “Just come back to work and we’ll sort it out later!” Just for the record Mr Ross, does that offer of coming back to work include payment for that work, or shall we sort that out later also?

The answer to Mr Ross’ behaviour may be connected to rumours that Mr Helmuth Fischer, the managing director of Heinemann’s parent company CBI, is again making a visit to Heinemann Electric. You may remember him from a previous bedtime story, “Heinemann’s ‘negotiating’ style”, republished at http://www.melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2006/09/123179.php.

It appears that news of Mr Ross’ ineffectiveness has reached the African shores. This is an interesting turn of events, as this will mean that Mr Fischer, the same man who says his company CBI has no responsibility to the Australian workers in terms of entitlements, may be the one to take over the negotiations. This is of course tongue in cheek, as all that will really happen is the middleman “Ross” may be taken out of the picture, and there will no longer be the 24-hour delays.

Removing the proud, pig-headed Ross from his perch may be the only effective response to the Heinemann conundrum. If the money being thrown at lawyers had been redirected to the production floor, none of this would have occurred. Heinemann has a long road to travel to repair this damage: to rebuild confidence in leadership, to establish a respectful relationship with employees, and to reinstate the standards of quality and service that were once so appreciated by customers.

If you are in the area, please feel free to show your support by visiting the protest at 821 Springvale Rd, Mulgrave.

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