Manipulating everybody else to drop what they are doing and rush to help while you sit motionless in a puddle of your own mess is, I suppose, the operating method for lazy scroungers with no pride. It appears this is exactly how Holden boss Mike Devereux, Carr and the unions want the workers to appear, which is rather unfortunate because Australians, quite rightly, have had enough of the blighters. Truth is, people suspect there is an awful lot the Holden crew could be doing to save themselves, and they'd be right about that suspicion.
In the past, Holden has misinformed us on its workers' salaries, claiming the average worker earns $55,000. Journalists, without checking Holden's workplace agreement, a public document, have repeated this claim. While the Modern Award base salaries for vehicle builders are in the modest $37,000-$42,000 range, the base rates in Holden's agreement are in the $60,000-$80,000 range. Add on to this loadings and penalties and I am comfortable betting that if Holden was compelled by government, as it should be, to produce the group certificates of workers, earnings would show in the $100,000 to $150,000 range
. Putting aside wages, the agreement does not let Holden manage its own business. It cannot even hire a casual for one hour without union permission. You just cannot run a business like that.
There is, of course, an easy way to fix all this and save Holden. If the workers want to keep their jobs, they can. If Holden wants to stay in Australia, it can. If the union wants its members to have ongoing work, it can. The answers lies in a simple two-page form on the Fair Work Commission website, called an F24.
An F24 is a request for the commission to terminate Holden's workplace agreement. A termination decree would put all the Holden workers back on to the terms and conditions of the Vehicle Industry Modern Award.