Last Monday in Melbourne, about 50 employees of the extraction plant manufacturer Fenner Dunlop suspended their work indefinitely in support of a new enterprise agreement. Earlier this month, workers voted unanimously in favour of a permanent strike action because of the dispute. The company is part of the Michelin Group. About 160 employees at paper Australia`s Maryvale plant, southeast of Melbourne, completed their work this week in the dispute over the company`s proposed enterprise agreement. About 60 ETU members dismantled tools for 48 hours on Wednesday, and the next day, 100 members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and the NUW were added. Some 130 members of the Electric Trade Union (ETU) and the Offshore Alliance (a combination of the Australian Union of Workers and the Maritime Union of Australia) who participated in the construction of offshore LNG processing facilities in Western Australia, left on 21 September for 48 hours of work on a new Enterprise Agreement (EA). Negotiations for a new employment contract for MITs have been ongoing since December 2018. In August, MIT rejected a proposed regulation that included a salary increase of only 3 percent per year, the same insufficient number imposed on nurses, doctors and other health workers. Workers are concerned about several changes to their current agreement. Paper Australia wants to include a two-stage agreement, in which new hires would be paid 27% less than current employees, and freeze the salaries of existing employees until the salaries of newcomers catch up. Other concerns are that the proposed changes could lead to the replacement of full-time workers with contractors, reduced sick and personal leave, and changes in the way overtime is calculated and how the working tables are established. Members of the NUW of dry food maker Mansfields in Melbourne are voting on whether to strike over a new labour deal. After five meetings with management, workers refused a 1.3% pay increase, significantly lower than inflation and a reduction in wages.
The agreement proposed by the company provides for annual wage increases of 3 percent over four years, in exchange for the removal of an existing cap for part-time work from 4 percent to 15 percent. Originally, the operator wanted the cap to be raised to 35 per cent and tried to buy workers with a registration bonus of $1,000, plus $400, if they agreed. The strikes are protesting against the proposed new Enterprise Agreement (EA). They followed a similar four-hour hiatus on August 30. The limited strike had no impact on the management of Yarra Trams, which rejected most of the union`s 107 demands. The union wants 6 percent annual pay rises and better conditions. After almost six months of failure in the negotiations, workers voted almost unanimously in favour of a strike. The unions argued that Monos did not agree with an important statement by EA that workers who move into permanent full-time employment would not suffer a reduction in their hourly wages. Other contentious issues have not been made public. October will be the third month of union action by psychologists who are members of the APEX union.