Phonetec sacking protest – 5 January

Protests at the sacking of Phonetec worker Maggie Li for asking her boss to pay her for overtime worked continued today, moving to Melbourne stores belonging to the Chan ’empire’…

Outside the Masterlink Optus store on Russell Street

The advertised target was the Optus World store on Elizabeth Street, but Mr Chan had obviously got wind of it and the store was closed and shuttered when protesters arrived about 4pm. After handing out leaflets for half-an-hour or so the picket moved to another part of the chain, the Masterlink Optus store on Russell Street, on the edge of Chinatown, which was still open, and where both passers-by and the few customers showed a lot of interest (the leaflets ran out). A succession of speakers explained the background,[ … ]with a few extra details that caught attention: for example, the entire workplace is under constant video surveillance, but with the interesting refinement that the toilets are bugged in order to enforce the rule against workers conversing in their native languages (to stop them comparing notes on their pay and conditions?),and one speaker referred to a worker brought from China on a ‘347’ visa, who went back after a month, saying conditions were better in China …

Here is the text of the leaflet handed out to shoppers:

Sacked without notice at Christmas courtesy of the Howard Government’s new work laws

Dear Customer,
We are protesting outside this Masterlink Optus store today because the boss of the company which owns this store and several others has sacked one of their workers – Maggie Li.
Mrs Li has worked for the company for almost 6 years. Just before Christmas, she was taken into the office at Phonetec in Nunawading and told not to come back. The boss, Garry Chan, has stated the new laws allow him to do this.
We believe Maggie is being sacked because she is paid more than some of the other workers and Mr Chan believes he can get someone cheaper.
We believe many of Phonetec and Masterlink employment practices are dubious. About half the workers are employed on trainee wages – (about $12 an hour) – even though they receive little training and some of them have university degrees already. The rest are on subsistence wages. Mr Chan is trying to force his workers onto individual contracts by threatening to sack them if they don’t sign.
Mr Chan and his family are growing rich at the expense of his workers. Do not support this type of behaviour – take your business elsewhere. And remember at the next Federal elections do not vote for the Howard Government’s “Work Choices” legislation.
“WorkChoices” = No Choices

The Optus World store with the shutters up:

Outside the Optus World store (closed)