Al­coa work­ers end strike

Southern Telegraph - - News - Stu­art Hor­ton

Aus­tralian Work­ers Union mem­bers have put an end to 53 days of in­dus­trial ac­tion by go­ing back to work as a show of good faith to Al­coa af­ter be­ing of­fered a new en­ter­prise bar­gain­ing agree­ment.

Late last Thurs­day, Al­coa of­fered en­hanced job se­cu­rity in a re­vised EBA, as chair­man and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michael Parker as­sured Al­coa’s com­mit­ment not to make em­ploy­ees forcibly re­dun­dant by out­sourc­ing their work or re­plac­ing them with lim­ited-term or ca­sual em­ploy­ees.

Mr Parker said any new EBA had to al­low Al­coa to man­age its busi­ness ac­cord­ing to in­creas­ingly volatile global op­er­at­ing de­mands.

“Now we have ad­dressed job se­cu­rity, we en­cour­age the AWU to en­dorse the re­vised EBA and for our em­ploy­ees to re­turn to work so they can re­store their liveli­hoods,” Mr Parker said. “We thank those em­ploy­ees who have al­ready re­turned and our ded­i­cated teams who have kept our WA op­er­a­tions run­ning safely and pro­duc­tively dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time.”

AWU WA pres­i­dent Andy Hack­ing said that while work­ers had “won a good pro­por­tion of the job se­cu­rity ar­gu­ment”, there were still is­sues with the new deal.

“There are still some out­stand­ing is­sues for the ne­go­ti­at­ing team to work on and we won’t lock in a de­ci­sion un­til we work those out,” he said. “We’re cer­tainly happy with the changes to the agree­ment but we’re not see­ing this as a mas­sive win. There are still ques­tions about the life of the agree­ment. . . the new of­fer is for three years and at the end of that pe­riod we’ll have to ne­go­ti­ate a new one, the EBA con­di­tions won’t roll over. A new agree­ment will have to be reached.

“We aren’t rec­om­mend­ing mem­bers ac­cept the new agree­ment, it could still be knocked back and we could be back here (on strike) in a month.”

Em­ploy­ees will re­ceive more in­for­ma­tion on the re­vised EBA in the com­ing days and weeks be­fore vot­ing in mid-Oc­to­ber.

Aus­tralian Coun­cil of Trade Unions pres­i­dent Sally McManus said she was proud to stand with AWU work­ers through­out their ac­tion and called it a “great ex­am­ple of the power of work­ing peo­ple”.

“AWU mem­bers have stayed strong and re­fused to be in­tim­i­dated by the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing pushed back on to the award, but we have to change the rules so that no work­ing per­son can be threat­ened in this way again,” she said.

Pic­ture: Rod Tay­lor

Aerial view of the Kwinana Al­coa Re­fin­ery.

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