Tech giant, HP, and the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) have worked together to make a Western Sydney supply company change work conditions after 10 years of questionable practices.
The change at computer assembly company, Foxteq, was confirmed yesterday with employees finally offered permanent full- and part-time contracts.
According to AMWU NSW Secretary, Tim Ayres, employees were pitted against each other to compete for shifts and were often kept in the dark about getting work until the night before – most of the workers were labelled as casuals.
“This enterprise has been operating like this for some time,” he said. “Some workers reported they’d been working like this for almost 10 years.
“There are plenty of examples of casual employment in the manufacturing industry, but I have never seen a workforce that is 100 per cent casual with working experiences as degraded as conditions were for this group.”
Ayres said HP had operated positively once alerted to the working practices and pressured the company into changing its operations. HP computers assembled by Foxteq were used at Government departments, banks and other organisations around the country.
“We had some dialogue with senior representatives of HP to make sure they understood the seriousness of what was happening,” he said. “HP has been quite important in this and they have acted to make sure there’s some integrity to their supply chain.
“I think [Foxteq] started with a pretty small operation and probably kept getting bigger and bigger, used venerable workers and never woke up to the fact they are a significant assembly company.”
According to a statement from HP, the vendor conducted an audit of Foxteq’s Rydalmere site and identified a large number of deficiencies.
“A corrective action plan was put in place to address issues related to management systems and labour rights,” the spokesperson said. “HP is working with Foxteq in a number of areas to provide greater production visibility and to stabilise work schedules.”
Foxteq is owned by controversial Taiwanese manufacturer, Foxconn, which has had a string of 12 staff suicide attempts due to tough working conditions.