With the manufacturing industry struggling and the mining sector continuing to thrive, factory workers in the coal mining community of Muswellbrook, NSW have managed to capitalise on the boom.
Manufacturing and maintenance workers in the parts warehouse of Hitachi Construction Machinery have managed to win pay increases of up to 10% a year. The factory supplied parts for major resource projects throughout the Hunter Valley, including Mt Arthur, the largest coal mine in the southern hemisphere.
[Image, right: The AMWU's Newcastle branch helped negotiate the payrise for Hitachi workers in Muswellbrook.]
Despite the profitability of the operation, pay for those in the warehouse was well below industry standards according to Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) delegate Russell Morse.
The new agreement is for four years, with workers obtaining their biggest pay raise (10%) the first year. They will receive pay raises of 4% for each of the remaining three years of the agreement.
The agreement also clarified other grey areas under previous awards, specifically addressing issues such as redundancy and termination pay.
While this is great news for the employees Muswellbrook, some still feel that not all Australians are getting their fair share of the mining sector’s profits.