Rural Press print workers strike over cuts to wages and entitlements

Pre-press staff at the Daily Advertiser in Wagga Wagga, the Central Western Daily in Orange, the Bendigo Advertiser and other regional papers began two-hour stoppages before deadline last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon.

Rural Press refused to comment to ProPrint.

Lorraine Cassin, national print secretary of the Australian Manufacturers Workers Union (AMWU), said Fairfax was looking to cut redundancy pay and lower wages by up to $100 a week.

“This is not negotiable and these workers are not entertaining the offer,” she said.

“The changes mean that redundancy payouts are capped at 16 weeks, and with these regional newspapers restructuring so quickly staff have a lot to worry about.”

Seven out of pre-press 10 staff at the Daily Advertiser left two hours before deadline on Friday.

Louise Brown, a production worker of six years at the paper, was one of the seven to walk out. She said she was unhappy with the proposed actions of her employer.

“There are people here who have been with the company for 30 years who have devoted their lives to the Rural Press,” she said.

“After long service leave, they would have been entitled to around $110,000 if they were made redundant, under these new rules they would only receive 12 weeks’ worth of pay, which is a lot less.”

AMWU said Rural Press will be forced to bring in relief workers to cover staff members as strikes continue this week.

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