Union hard men look like pussycats beside employers who don’t want to pay award rates.
Experienced union officials, including one fingered as a bully by politicians, have been taken aback by abuse and threats hurled by a Sydney boss.
Independent producer, Brad Diebert, cut up rough after Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance official, Simon Whipp, told performers on his gangster movie they were entitled to a better deal.
“Listen here, Simon Whipp, you slanderous motherfucker,” Diebert warmed up. “You are up for it buddy … so, fuck you … listen here, motherfucker, you and me see each other in the street and you better walk away, you cunt, because I am going to rip your fucking eyes out.”
We know this is exactly what Diebert said because, not being the sharpest tack in the drawer, he left his message on the MEAA answerphone.
Victorian ETU secretary, Dean Mighell, said Diebert’s negotiating strategy was flawed.
“Profanity without principle is worthless,” Mighell told Manic Times.
“He (Diebert) sounds like the sort of guy who would benefit from some union training. I think he would find that a little more professionalism would go a long way, and get better results.”
CFMEU mining division secretary, Tony Maher, said Diebert’s approach was not unique among the employing class.
“We have all had experiences of being stood over by employers,” Maher said. “Personally, I have had the CEO of a mining company try to intimidate me in a courtroom.
Employers are not beyond this sort of thing and never have been.
“But, it’s not very smart and it lacks professionalism. I think Kevin should throw him out of the party.”
Whipp told Manic Times he had been shocked and a “little bit amused” by Diebert’s grubby tirade.
“We had had a couple of exchanges of emails and a couple of conversations that hadn’t been particularly heated. What got him upset was that, based on the budget he had supplied, we had told him there was enough money to pay performers the minimum rate for turning up on the day.”
Unions NSW assistant secretary, Mark Lennon, said the Diebert outburst highlighted the hypocrisy of the federal government.
“We haven’t heard boo from them,” Lennon said. “If this had been a union official talking to an employer, there would be hell to pay.”