Incat fails to rule out more job cuts

June 6, 2001


HOBART — Voluntary and forced redundancies at the Incat boat-building company have resulted in Incat’s 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 union’s 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 week’s 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 company’s employees.

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