Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Victory at Borders Books!

Borders workers and Unite have beaten Borders management today!

After weeks of intense campaigning by Unite and Borders staff, management today announced that they would not oppose the introduction of the Retail Award when the issue returns before the Industrial Relations Commission in Melbourne this week.

This means that all those workers not on individual contracts will go onto the Award and get penalty rates for the first time. The penalty rates range from time and a quarter to triple time depending on the day and time. For example workers on Sunday night will go from $14.50-odd to $42 an hour! Managers staying on individual contracts will, therefore, be earning their flat rate of $16-odd on Sunday nights compared to staff on $42!

The backdown by the multi-billion dollar company came after six rallies (4 outside the Carlton store and 2 at Prahran) by Unite, mass petitioning, postering as well as the brave stance of Borders workers themselves. Borders feared that continued opposition to their workers just demands might lead to a boycott campaign by Unite and industrial action from their staff.

This is a great victory for collective action, for Borders staff, and for the new Unite group. It is an important precedent for other workers in stores such as Starbucks.

Once the Award kicks in there will be an attempt by the SDA to sign a collective agreement with Borders to get workers currently locked into $14.50-odd flat rate individual contracts onto the Award. Staff will be watching very closely to ensure that the SDA does not sell out any Award provisions in order to get Borders management to sign.

Well done to everyone involved in this victory and to the hundreds of people who signed petitions in solidarity with Borders staff!

A victory for one, is a victory for all!

By Socialist Party reporters