Around 500 Visy packaging workers in Victoria and New South Wales are expected to go on strike indefinitely from today, following a strike on Monday over the company’s bid to undermine their job security in the latest round of enterprise bargaining.
The strike will reportedly affect Fosters, Victorian Bitter, Coca Cola Amatil and Nestle products going to market in the lead-up to Christmas.
From 6am on Monday, the workers protested outside the gates of Visy operations in Smithfield, NSW, Dandenong, Victoria, Carole Park, Queensland and O’Connor, WA.
According to Visy Dandenong delegate, Wayne Maslen, the workers were left with little choice.
“For too long we’ve been ignored. This was the only way to send a clear message to management. Start listening to people,” he told the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU).
Over the past two and half months the AMWU has sought to reach an agreement with Visy that would include a comprehensive dispute resolution clause, fair pay increase over three years and the introduction of a heat policy.
Those submissions have been rejected.
“We have tried to engage and negotiate with Visy, they have now closed the door on the negations,” AMWU national secretary printing division, Lorraine Cassin, said in a press release.
“Visy have tried everything in their power to whittle down the job security of our members and introduce a cheaper casual workforce across the country.
“We are calling on Visy to return to the negotiating table, genuinely and in good faith.”
Maslen says the workers have had enough.
“We want to know why workers at other Visy sites have been offered pay increases. Why are distribute resolution mechanisms are being taken away?,” he said.
“This decision hasn’t been taken lightly (the industrial action), it won’t be easy on the workers financially. But the consequences to lie down and be walked on would be even worse.”