Staff at Note Printing Australia (NPA), a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) have been locked out by management, following a breakdown in negotiations centred on domestic violence leave, pay increases, and the company’s casual workforce.
The affected workers found out they were to be locked out by management on Tuesday, with AMWU print organiser Mick Bull explaining, “It came as a surprise, they notified us their intentions on Tuesday, and then they had meetings trying to threaten workers to accept their offer.
“After mass meetings, workers rejected the offer, so the paperwork for the actual lockout came through on Thursday.
“The company is taking action against the workers in retaliation.”
RBA head Philip Lowe called for businesses to deliver wage rises of 3.5 per cent to give the economy the boost it needs. Workers at NPA have requested the same rise, with management making a counter-offer.
Bull says, “There has been a bit of progress, the key points are the wage rise, the worker’s want Rowe’s recommendation of 3.5 per cent, whereas NPA is offering 2.5 per cent.
“They want five days upfront paid domestic violence leave, the company is offering it only once all other leave is exhausted.So annual leave, sick leave, and long service leave, would need to be used up before you can access that five days domestic violence leave, which is outrageous.
“The casuals are labour hire, working side by side with directly employed people, some of them there for up to nine years. Being casual for that long a period is just disgraceful.”
Bull and the AMWU contend that it is a problem across the labour market more generally, saying, “It is the AMWU position that casual workers should have a pathway for permanent employment.
“The EPAs do not cover labour hire, so companies across the country use labour hire at will, and if any of them stand up for their rights they just piss them off, and get rid of them
“That is why they keep casual employees, and it is up to the Union to speak for their rights.”
“The workers that are locked out and on strike will not receive any money for today, even the salary workers. They are amused by the whole thing, the Reserve Bank called for 3.5 per cent pay increases, and the NPA, which is directly connected, with half the board being Reserve Bank people, offered them 2.5 per cent.
“Workers at the RBA got a 3.8 per cent pay rise, and workers at sister company CCL Australia were offered 3 per cent.
“The company says 2.5 per cent is all that they can afford. When we ask them to be transparent and show us that is all they can afford, they do not show us.
“So we have not seen a shred of evidence that is the case.
“We are hoping to get more meetings this week to try and break the deadlock.”
Australian Printer sent a list of questions to the Reserve Bank of Australia around negotiations, the effect of the strike on banknote and passport production, confirmation that the offered domestic violence leave was only accessible once other leave had been used, and why workers were locked out of the building on Friday.
In response, the RBA sent a statement in which it says, “The Reserve Bank works closely with Note Printing Australia to ensure there is an adequate supply of banknotes. We plan and maintain banknote holdings to meet growth in circulation, fluctuations in demand and production disruptions. We have adequate supplies to continue to meet demand for cash. We are also well advanced in printing the new $50 and remain on track for it to enter general circulation in October as planned.”
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