BY ALEX BAINBRIDGE
HOBART Voluntary and forced redundancies at the Incat boat-building
company have resulted in Incats work force being reduced from 900 to 710.
Last year the work force was 1000-strong but workers who left have not
been replaced for some time.
Despite this significant reduction, Incat managing director Craig Clifford
has refused to rule out further cuts. On June 2, the Hobart Mercury
reported rumours that a further 100 forced redundancies would take place
on June 8, followed by another 50 a week later.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), the principal union
at the site, has applied to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission
seeking an order against further sackings until further negotiations with
the union have taken place.
A similar appeal to the Tasmanian Industrial Commission neither prevented
the June 1 round of forced redundancies nor resulted in improvements to
the redundancy package offered by the company. The commission did however
uphold the unions refusal to agree to a four-day week, which the company
had originally intended to implement.
The AMWU has consistently criticised the package as inadequate overall,
repeatedly highlighting the fact that it is capped at 12 weeks pay for
those who been employed by Incat for more than five years. Nevertheless
the company is firing according to the rule last on, first off and so
improvements at the lower end of the scale would mean more benefits to
many of those losing their jobs. Workers who have worked less than one
year for the company get a payout of only one weeks wages.
The establishment media was in the fortunate position of being able
to report that one Incat worker won a $9 million Powerball jackpot three
and a half hours after being made redundant. Only one worker got what Clifford
called a silver lining. Many suffered only the cloud which still hangs
over the rest of the companys employees.