FWC asks Australian Paper picket to stop

The Fair Work Commission’s has told the picketing workers at Australian Paper to suspend the strike, however the AMWU is appealing the decision as workers are entering their sixth week of picketing.

The FWC made the call after the company has repeatedly asked the workers to stop protesting before they reattempt negotiations over pay and working conditions. The AMWU is making their appeal before the FWC today.

Australian Paper’s Japanese owners will not negotiate with striking staff.

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.

[Related: Australian Paper fails to settle strike]

Dean Griffiths, union organiser with the AMWU says, “We are appealing the suspension of the picket line. Last Thursday they asked the picket line to stop and we appealed it straight away so we could get a stay, so we could keep going for now.

“Everyone is still out there. They are all confused about how they can take fair action that is within their rights and the Commission has not supported that. The FWC have asked for the picket to stop to try and force the company to come back to the table. The Commission has backed the company in that way.

“We think we have a good case but it remains to be how the board will take it. We are booked from 10 to 3, so we will see how this plays out over the next five hours.”

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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