Tuesday, April 11, 2006


BUILDING workers have been docked four hours' pay for briefly stopping work to collect money for the family of a colleague killed on a construction site.

The workers were docked under the Federal Government's new workplace laws, which require bosses to deduct a minimum four hours' pay for any unauthorised stoppages.

Hooker Cockram general manager Matthew Dalmau confirmed he had advised subcontractors working on a Defence Department site in Port Melbourne to dock the pay of about 25 workers.

The workers stopped for about 20 minutes on Friday to collect $470 for the widow of Christos Binos, 58, who was crushed to death by a concrete panel at a Pakenham building site on March 8.

Mr Dalmau said the law required the unions to request a stoppage in writing, otherwise it was considered illegal industrial action for which the workers must have their pay docked. Employers who failed to deduct the wages could be fined up to $33,000.

"So our hands are tied," Mr Dalmau said. "If the unions had requested it in writing prior to the event, of course we would have approved it."

(Meaghan Shaw in The Age)
Cross-posted at Larvatus Prodeo


Helen said...

"Our hands are tied" - what a miserable, self serving, disingenuous f### weasel phrase that is.

Gummo Trotsky said...

Possibly, Helen.

It may be that some employers are happy with using the penalties as an excuse - and may well support WorkFarce on the basis that the law compels them to do what they want to do anyway.

OTOH, let's allow the possibility that in this instance the nmangers wanted to act decently but found themselves constrained by law to act bastardly instead because the bottom line wouldn't stand a lot of $33,000 losses.

Whichever way you look at it, it's the crap law which is at the root of the problem.