Stop two-year strike and come back to work: Radio Rentals

By James Wells

ADELAIDE: Radio Rentals managing director, Gavin Hancock, said he did not want to lock out employees and that it was up to them and their union to withdraw their two-year campaign of rolling industrial action and come back to work.

A statement issued today titled ‘Business as Usual for Radio Rentals’ that stated 97 per cent of the company’s 438 staff were at work.

“There has been no inconvenience to any customer,” the statement said.

“Each of the 16 service technicians who yesterday started a protracted industrial campaign up to June 2008 has been locked out for one month.”

“Nobody needed to lose one dollar,” said Hancock said in the statement.

“All they need do is withdraw their industrial action and they can come back to work.  The ball is in their court.”

Hancock dismissed claims that the company wanted to force individual agreements at the expense of collective agreements.

"The overwhelming majority of our employees are on collective agreements and we are really happy with that,” said Hancock.

“We support collective agreements that are fair to employees and to the business.  We have a record of successfully negotiating collective agreements.”

In its statement, Radio Rentals said it has not at any time relied upon any aspect of the new Federal industrial legislation.

"This matter has nothing to do with the new legislation.  Radio Rentals has throughout relied upon and continues to act solely under provisions of the 1996 Federal industrial legislation."

Hancock dismissed as “blatant and political misinformation” union and Federal Opposition claims that the matter was linked to the new Federal industrial laws.

According to Radio Rentals, this very small group which represents three per cent of employees has a history of unsustainable industrial demands followed by industrial action if the company does not give in to them.

Over the past two years, the company has negotiated a collective agreement with the union.

In May, the union endorsed a collective agreement, but the employees voted to reject it and are taking industrial action.

Radio Rentals said this small group of employees continues to be paid significantly above the Award for work performance that is well below that of this competitive industry.

“After the employees rejected the union-endorsed collective agreement, the company decided it was not possible to achieve a collective agreement and decided instead to offer an individual agreement (AWA).  The AWA improves current employment conditions and is better than what is prescribed in the Award,” the company said.

“A pay increase of around four percent is based on achievement of an agreed higher level of performance that is consistent with industry standards."

The AWA offer expired on Wednesday. It was accepted by 14 of the 33 service technicians who are at work as usual.

Radio Rentals pointed out that the company has not at any time relied upon any aspect of the new Federal industrial legislation.

“This matter has nothing to do with the new legislation.  Radio Rentals has throughout relied upon and continues to act solely under provisions of the 1996 Federal industrial legislation,” the company said.

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