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Issue #1470      1 September 2010

Workers maintain resolve over job security at Bluescope

Workers at Bluescope Steel in Melbourne’s south east have voted to continue strike action for a fifth week after a failure by management to address key concerns.

The 86 Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) members are holding firm over their key demands, despite the companies’ decision to bring on up to 12 labour hire workers including from Adecco, and at least six from Port Kembla in NSW.

AMWU Victorian organiser, Greg Warren, said that negotiations had been ongoing since January, but the company had not moved on key issues including a clause which would ensure the maintenance crew had better job security.

Other issues that concerned the workers were maintaining their health and safety rights, maintaining protection from unfair dismissal, and several clauses in their agreement affecting penalty rates and the right of day workers to be consulted about shift work.

Though the workers maintain the Bluescope Western Port site, they are employed by Silcar, through what both companies call an “alliance” arrangement.

Protected action, which began with four hour stoppages in April this year, and has been ongoing since July, is likely to continue until the company makes a significant move.

“The meeting shows that we are serious about what we want, but hopefully we can get an agreement soon,” Mr Warren said.

“It is not in anyone’s interests that this continue and I think the company will realise that sooner rather than later.”  

Next article – MUA’s Paddy Crumlin elected President of ITF

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