The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has urged Ausreo’s management to resume negotiations with the 24 workers who were locked out by the company for seeking the same wages that their Victorian counterparts are being paid for doing the same work.
The workers, who are now in their third week on strike, have been blocked from entering the Ausreo site at Wetherill Park while on strike and “will remain locked out under the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009,” said Ausreo management.
According to the article on Fair Field Champion, they have initially requested a 36% wage rise over three years, which the company rejected, as it rejected their subsequent demand for a 24% increase over the same period, claiming the increase was “not sustainable and would threaten the viability of Ausreo’s business and the ongoing employment” of all staff.”
The Union has urged the supplier of concrete products to the building and construction industry to re-start talks and allow the workers to return as many risked losing their homes if they missed mortgage payments.
Union delegate Dennis Ngo said employees were not being paid while on strike.
“They only want to give us a 3%, which is taxed, over three years,” he said.
“The company also has a site in Victoria and the workers there do the same work but they have higher wages, better conditions and a better redundancy agreement. We just want the same as what the workers get in Victoria.”
He said many members faced financial strain and the stress of uncertainty.
“I’ve had to go the bank and have part of my mortgage payment delayed by some weeks.”
Most members are level four machine operators, wanting their hourly wage rate to be raised $3 so that it equals the rate the company pays in Melbourne. They are also seeking improvements to redundancy provisions, according to the media release by AMWU.
“There’s a lack of respect from management for the workforce and I sense this company had always wanted to lock them out and try to destroy the union onsite,” AMWU organiser Ghazi Noshie said.