CHH lock­out fi­nally over

As­sur­ance given to help com­mu­nity re­cover

Australian Forests and Timber - - Front Page -

CARTER HOLT Har­vey Myrtle­ford Mill em­ploy­ees are back at work af­ter a 74-day lock­out over a wages dis­pute. The re­turn to work fol­lowed a 111-70 vote to ac­cept a CHH pay deal.

Even though CHH has given a as­sur­ance that it will help the com­mu­nity to re­cover there is still divi­sion in the town.

Con­struc­tion Forestry Min­ing and Elec­tri­cal Union as­sis­tant sec­re­tary An­drew Ven­dramini said that in Novem­ber the work­ers first voted down the of­fer 117-55.

“They next re­jected it 97-86 on June 9.

“Af­ter 10 weeks into a lock­out the vote was 111-70 in favour – which says a lot about what the em­ploy­ees think of the agree­ment,” Mr Ven­dramini said.

As a re­sult, he claimed CHH Myrtle­ford em­ploy­ees were now “a lot worse off than where we were in Novem­ber of last year”.

“If the town thinks the last 10 weeks was go­ing to af­fect them, well, there’s now less money in (our) mem­bers’ pock­ets and that means less money that will be spent in the town,” he said.

“But the com­mu­nity wanted to stick its nose in and (our) mem­bers have ended up with less to spend in the com­mu­nity.”

Re­luc­tant ad­vo­cate for about 60 non-union-aligned work­ers Enzo D’An­drea said there was “very icy feel­ing” be­tween union and non-union CHH em­ploy­ees af­ter the vote.

“No one’s talk­ing to each other but hope­fully time will heal all wounds,” he said.

CARTER Holt Har­vey has as­sured Alpine mayor Ron Janas that CHH had given an as­sur­ance it would help the com­mu­nity to re­cover.

Cr Janas In a state­ment, Cr Janas said the mill’s re­open­ing was a pos­i­tive step for all af­fected by the in­dus­trial stand-off in re­cent months.

He said he had spo­ken with CHH chief ex­ec­u­tive Pra­full Ke­sha and had dis­cussed with him the need for com­mu­nity re­cov­ery. He said Mr Ke­sha had as­sured him of the com­pany’s help.

“The re­open­ing of the mill is great news for Myrtle­ford, but we un­der­stand it will take time for the com­mu­nity to fully re­cover from the im­pact of this event,” Cr Janas said.

He said that Alpine coun­cil would sup­port the Myrtle­ford com­mu­nity’s re­cov­ery and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion by fund­ing a com­mu­nity “get­to­gether”.

He said the coun­cil looked for­ward to shar­ing in this process with com­mu­nity groups.

“Myrtle­ford has been through floods, bush­fires and the loss of the to­bacco in­dus­try in one fell swoop, but it bounced back and I know the de­ter­mi­na­tion of the com­mu­nity will see it will bounce back again,” Cr Janas said.

No one’s talk­ing to each other but hope­fully time will heal all wounds .

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