There is a new twist in the Pacific Brands saga, this time involving a union super fund and a senior member of Pacific Brands management.

The Labour Union Co-operative Retirement Fund (LUCRF Super) is attached to the National Union of Workers (NUW), which is one of the unions that has coverage over Pacific Brands workers. In fact, the NUW has five members on the LUCRF board representing employees.

What is interesting is that Ted Eftimiadis, the Employee Relations Manager at Pacific Brands, is also on the board as an employer representative.

The NUW has several agreements with Pacific Brands, including current agreements at Sleepmaker, Dunlop and a number of distribution centres.

Following the announcement by Pacific Brands that they would move 1850 manufacturing jobs overseas, the NUW has been relatively quiet. It is unknown how many of the lost jobs are directly affecting their members, but the company has since stated that only 1200 of the job cuts were in manufacturing, while the other 650 are in “administration”.

The NUW National Secretary Charlie Donnelly, who is also chairman of the board of LUCRF, is facing demands from members to remove Eftimiadis from the board following Pacific Brands’ decision to move the Australian jobs off shore.

Other NUW members working in Pacific Brands sites have said they are not happy that Donnelly has been quiet over the redundancies.

LUCRF Super is contributed to by NUW members, and some members are furious Eftimiadis is still on the board and are talking about looking for a new superannuation fund.

However, adding to members’ frustrations is the fact that some NUW agreements with Pacific Brands only allow their superannuation to be paid into LUCRF or the Pacific Brand Super funds.

Given Eftimiadis signs off these agreements, it will be interesting to see how long it takes Donnelly to show him the door.

Peter Fray

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