Six weeks ago a cleaner working at Australia Posts logistics center on the Burwood Highway in Knoxfield, Melbourne was arbitrarily sacked by his employer, CMC, at the request of Australia Post. The cleaner had been working there for 11 years and had never had a trust issue raised with him in that time.
The cleaner, going about his job as usual, was cleaning a bosses office when he found what looked to be rubbish on the top of the desk and threw it in the bin. There was some paper amongst the rubbish so the cleaner checked it to be sure. It was not rubbish, it was a letter, so he folded it back up and put it down on the desk. However as he was doing so and about to leave, the boss walked back in.
The boss became irate, called the sub-contractor cleaning company, CMC, who employed the cleaner, and told them that the cleaner had been ‘rifling’ through his files and documents and demanded that the cleaner be fired on the spot. CMC was all too happy to oblige, and this innocent worker lost his job without explanation. The cleaner and the union sought to take the case before the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) last week as an unfair dismissal case.
CMC have claimed they only employ 87 people, and therefore, thanks to John Howard’s harsh and despicable anti-worker laws, they do not have to give reason for dismissal. This innocent worker has lost his livelihood, and cannot take it before the AIRC.
On Thursday the 29th, at 6:30am a group of Union Solidarity activists, set up a community based picket line on the deliveries gate of the Australia Post Logistics centre on the Burwood highway, in Knoxfield. Socialist Party members also participated in the picket line. While the picket did not block workers from attending their jobs, it did block more than six trucks, and a further delivery was cancelled.
The picket was so successful that it blocked an Australia Post semi-trailer, due to arrive at 7am, carrying a ‘just on time delivery’ of stamps to be distributed for the Christmas period. This truck was blocked for 3 and a half hours before a supervisor from Dandenong was sent to try and get the truck into the facility.
After a half hour stand off, and local media attention, the supervisor conceded. The semi-trailer was sent back to its origin and another delivery was cancelled! The picket line was declared a victory with Australia Post Logistics centre effectively shut down for an entire day. Australia Post Management was in a furore.
Since then, CMC have blamed Australia Post, and Australia Post have blamed CMC for the loss of this mans livelihood. The cleaner has not yet received his job back or compensation, but the struggle will continue until this happens. The Socialist Party is in full support of this worker and the struggle for his livelihood and wishes to express their solidarity.
By Kirk Leonard