Retail giant Harvey Norman has been caught red-handed using an unfair AWA months after they were banned to cut the take home pay of a sales worker by up to $146 a week, a press report reveals today.

This shows a major employer is taking advantage of confusion over the IR laws and the fact that Work Choices has not yet been fully scrapped to rip off a worker, say unions.

The Harvey Norman AWA pays just $15.29 an hour with no penalty rates for evening or weekend work  – cutting the worker’s pay by up to $146.49 a week less than the award for a typical roster, depending on the sales commission.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“It is shocking to see a major highly profitable retailer like Harvey Norman taking advantage of the confusing remnants of WorkChoices by using AWAs.

“This AWA contains draconian clauses allowing the company to sack a worker without notice for minor misconduct and a demand to keep the rates of pay ‘confidential’ ”.

“This is the kind of thing that voters rejected at last year’s election.
“Business needs to wake up to the fact that AWAs have been scrapped and they need to overhaul their employment practices to reflect the move to fairer and more balanced IR laws.  It is disappointing to see a major employer still not understanding that these kinds of job contracts are not only unfair for workers but are misleading,” said Ms Burrow. 

In 2007, Harvey Norman retail empire had 192 franchise outlets, the company net profit jumped 77% from $229m (2006) to $407m (2007) (Harvey Norman Annual Report, 2007, p 3).

ACTU President Sharan Burrow will address the Workplace Relations Summit in Melbourne today.

Please click here to see article in The Age, Monday 14 July 2008