Australian Paper reopens negotiations with workers

Australian Paper is reopening talks with the AMWU as the Preston factory workers are in their seventh week of striking, with both parties having met for their first negotiation on Wednesday afternoon.

The Fair Work Commission ordered workers of the major envelope producer to cease the strike, which was then appealed by the AMWU while the picketers were able to keep going, having been granted a stay.

Dean Griffiths, union organiser with the AMWU says, “The full board hasn’t put through their decision yet, so the picketing is still going. We kicked off initial meetings with the company yesterday. I cannot discuss it as we have a confidentiality clause in place. I cannot say a lot, I am bound but I will say the picketing line is willing to go for as long as it takes.”

[Related: FWC asks Australian Paper picket to stop]

An online fundraiser has been started for the workers on strike, who have been living without their wages since mid-January.

Craig Dunn, general manager for Communications and Sustainability at Australian Paper says, “We have nothing further to comment at this stage.”

The union has claimed that warehouse workers have reported the company is importing stock to make up for a loss in production, particularly in envelopes supplied to Officeworks.

The dispute has come about after nine months of failed negotiations for a new EBA. Workers have asked for a 2.5 per cent annual pay rise for three years and no loss of RDOs, and are against a reclassification of the pay structure which they claim will freeze pay increases for long time staff until newer employees’ wages catch up. The company has offered a total 6.5 per cent pay rise over four years and wants to reduce the current 16 RDOs to 12.

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