Roy Morgan sackings highlight weakness of current unfair dismissal protection
22 August, 2008
The sudden sackings of almost 60 young workers by market researcher Roy Morgan has turned the spotlight onto the lack of protection from unfair dismissal under the current industrial relations system.
The workers, mostly in their late-teens and early-20s, were sacked without notice by email earlier this month.
Although many had been working for Roy Morgan for well over six months and had exemplary employment records, they have no recourse to unfair dismissal protection under Work Choices.
A total of 56 Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewers were dismissed in a group email earlier this month. The reason given was a shortage of work.
Staff at Roy Morgan Interviewing Services are employed under a Work Choices-style agreement after the company refused to allow the National Union of Workers to represent employees collectively. Under the agreement, the employer is not required to provide any notice of dismissal or redundancy payment.
One worker, 19-year-old Julia de la Cruz, was told that the reason why she was selected for dismissal was her attendance, job performance and behaviour.
However, less than two months ago, Ms de la Cruz was given a pay rise in recognition of her commitment and hard work over the previous year.
Unions are hoping to see progress towards a better unfair dismissal system at today’s meeting of the federal and state industrial relations ministers in Sydney.
ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said the Roy Morgan case highlighted how young workers continued to be hurt by Work Choices and that it was time for the Rudd Government to deliver on its promise to bring in fair and balanced IR laws.
“Labor pledged to provide all workers with protection from being unfairly dismissed and to ensure that employers would not be able to sack staff for operational reasons” he said. “But Labor is yet to deliver on these promises.
"Australian workers are in a Work Choices twilight zone, waiting for the Rudd Government to restore their rights. This case shows how hard it is for employees to bring a claim for unfair dismissal even when they are treated badly.
“It also shows that employers are still using Work Choices to rip off workers when and where they can.
"Unions are very concerned the Rudd Government is under pressure from business lobby groups to water down and delay implementing its promise to restore workers' protection from unfair dismissal.”
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