Workers at Note Printing Australia have agreed to a new contract, accepting a pay rise of 2.5 per cent as opposed to the 3.5 per cent they were advocating for.
The pay rise also includes a wage index backstop, meaning that if inflation is higher than 2.5 per cent, the wages will increase in line with the figure to ensure workers are no worse off.
AMWU organiser Mick Bull says the agreement followed from threats of being locked out indefinitely by management, following the decision to lock out workers for the day on August 10.
Bull says, “The workers are disappointed that the Reserve Bank said everyone should have a 3.5 per cent increase, but they are not practicing what they are preaching.”
After almost three months of protracted action, NPA improved its offer to the workers to include five days of stand alone domestic and family violence leave, as opposed to its original offer, in which the additional leave was only available once all other leave had been used.
As part of the deal, the NPA offered casual conversion changes including instantaneous conversion to permanent work for some long-term casual workers.
Tony Piccolo, assistant state secretary, Print, AMWU says, “It was pretty galling for the workers to hear the RBA Governor call for 3.5 per cent pay rises in one breath, and then refuse that same pay rise to their own subsidiary’s workers in the next.
“Just yesterday we heard again that Australian wages are basically going backwards – not keeping up with CPI and cost of living.
“But in the end it wasn’t just about the pay rise. The workers were willing to accept 2.5 per cent as long as they received the upfront domestic and family violence leave clause in their agreement and secure jobs for casual workers.
“Maintaining financial independence and support from their workplace is critical for people trying to escape situations of family violence. We had workers at NPA who previously didn’t have access to upfront family and domestic violence leave when they needed it, so it was paramount that they won this entitlement in their agreement this time around.
“It really shouldn’t come to this, for workers to have to strike and sacrifice a few days pay to win a fair wage rise in their agreement, when everyone agrees that Australians need a pay rise. It’s another clear-cut example of why we need to change the rules.”
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