Pizza man feeds non-members – depaNews April 2011

Pizza man

Pizza Man says "I wouldn't bother answering..."

In a real snub to union members at Hurstville Council, Pizza Man, General Manager Victor Lampe has told his HR Manager he “wouldn’t bother” responding any further to our investigation of why he shouted pizzas for the freeloaders on Union Picnic Day. In the March issue of depaNews we reported that employees at Hurstville who had chosen not to be union members, and were not entitled to Union Picnic Day under the Local Government (State) Award, were all provided with a free lunch by the General Manager.

We were interested to find out why and in the March issue said we would pursue this and publish the Council's response.

Well, it's been hard to squeeze anything out of Victor. He is far more interested in feeding people who refuse to join unions than he is of responding to us.

First, he had his HR Manager respond to our e-mail and she said "lunch was a small gesture of appreciation in the circumstances". She rejected our suggested explanations but the circumstances are intriguing.

These are people not entitled to a day off by virtue of the choice they have made about union membership. They're entitled to decide they don’t want to join a union and while they can still receive the benefits the unions have won over the years in the Award or the various precedents protecting employees, they wouldn’t ordinarily be entitled to anything else - like a free lunch for choosing not to be union member. We asked “are you saying that the free lunch was a small gesture of appreciation to people who, had they been union members, would not have been there at all?"

The HR Manager responded that "non-membership of the union was not the reason lunch is provided." She did confess, in reply to one of our questions, that the Council provided the lunch, not the GM personally. So it came from public monies.

So, we asked “if non-membership was not the reason lunch was provided, what was?” And when this was ignored we wrote to Pizza Man himself and he copied us in to a message to the HR Manager:

“I wouldn't bother answering his additional question as I think you have already provided enough information".

We remain blissfully unaware of the GM’s motivation in providing a free lunch to people who already get lots of things for nothing. Neither do the employees at Hurstville understand. The union members, of course, wondering when they get their pizza or the apology for Victor’s insensitivity and the non-members feeling much more appreciated by the GM for being at work when they had no entitlement to be anywhere else.

We wouldn’t want to be unfair to Victor, so you can check the unedited exchange here.

And we hear that the GM even entertained the non-members to maximise their pleasure for the day.

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