Bluescope Port Kembla Enterprise Agreement

These committees should seek the support of other workers all over the world for a united struggle against the capitalist profit system. This means fighting for an alternative political perspective – for workers` governments that would implement socialist policies, including placing steel and other basic industries with banks and financial houses under public ownership and democratic control of workers. After a nearly four-year wage freeze imposed by the unions in 2015, the latest deal does not even cover the rising cost of living, let alone the reduction in wages since 2015. It also contains compromises that remain to be clarified, aimed at further reducing costs and increasing the company`s huge profits. BlueScope Steel workers approved a groundbreaking company deal after their union leaders accepted hundreds of job losses, demanded a wage freeze and a restructuring of labor practices to prevent the closure of the country`s largest steel plant in Port Kembla. A recent decision by BlueScope Steel to outsource part of its operations to its bulk mooring plant in Port Kembla proved to be fair and, most importantly, correct, although it resulted in the unfortunate loss of eight full-time jobs. Although the AWU touted the agreement in principle as a victory, an 11% wage increase over three years would hardly keep pace with inflation. Penalty interest rates would return for sick leave, but these payments would be capped, subjecting workers to increased scrutiny and punishing those suspected of taking too many sick days. „We just can`t roll the dice and close the steel plant. But here`s our request to the Baird government: The workers who are here today have accepted a very real pain – real sacrifices. Then find us halfway. Help support our jobs and support a Victoria-style local steel supply plan.

On Tuesday, the company offered more than 1,000 workers a four percent pay rise under a new three-year deal. An increase of four per cent would be recorded in the second year, followed by an increase of three per cent in the third. Australia`s exemption from U.S. steel import tariffs of 25 percent and a recently announced „free trade agreement” between Australia and Indonesia that removes tariffs on most products, including steel, are likely to further boost BlueScope`s results. In addition, the 2015 agreement removed a „standstill” clause in all former EAAs, allowing the company to more quickly implement changes to employment and compensation agreements to meet shareholder requirements. The offensive continued in the following years and the unions closed the Newcastle by BHP steelworks in 1999. Every deal negotiated by the union in Port Kembla has increased the rush for jobs and working conditions. In the early 1980s, the plant employed about 27,000 workers.

There are less than 3000 today. This has led to a social crisis in Wollongong and the neighbouring Illawarra region, characterised by endemic youth unemployment and poverty. Paul Farrow, senior vice-chairman of the Australian Workers` Union NSW, said the company`s agreement in principle would be formally voted on in the coming weeks before the Fair Labour Commission plans to finalise it. Anna Patty is a senior editor for the Sydney Morning Herald, which focuses on higher education. Most importantly, it also stresses the need to get it right, to respect the employer`s obligations, to properly consult the workers concerned and to take into account all the proposals made to the company by these workers. The agreement will be backdated to July 1 of this year. The three-year wage freeze that will apply to AWU members and employees will result in the loss of more than $20,000 per year for some employees. The concessions are conditional on the decision of BlueScope`s Board of Directors to keep the steel plant in operation. Sources said the deal provided for cuts of $170 million and would require an injection of about $30 million from the New South Wales government to meet the company`s goal. Walton called the new deal „a justification for the labor movement.” The role of the unions was to isolate workers, minimize union action, and negotiate another sales agreement with BlueScope. Bluescope`s board of directors had decided that its steelmaking business would end if no $200 million cost could be saved. The agreement also means that industrial action in the coming years is extremely unlikely.

The union has not formally agreed not to strike, but sources said industrial action was not likely because no wage demands were being made. „The new three-year company agreement, including a three-year wage freeze and new streamlined provisions for the introduction of workplace restructuring, has been settled without industrial action,” he said. Despite vocal opposition, a majority of about 500 workers voted last week to pass a „basic” deal that ends seven months of limited union action. However, the deal must now be formally voted on by all workers at the EA-run plant. Paul O`Malley, blueScope`s chief executive and chief executive, said the deal represented a „revolutionary approach.” Metalworkers at blueScope`s Port Kembla plant near Wollongong, south of Sydney, are expected to vote on another sold-out company (EA) deal negotiated by the same unions that have helped the company cut jobs and wages for years. Bluescope`s board of directors had decided that the steel business would end if no $200 million cost could be saved. Once again, the union is trying to prevent any struggle by BlueScope workers and enforce a regressive agreement. AWU Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Walton pointed this out last Tuesday in a commentary on the Australian Financial Review. Around 2,500 metalworkers at the BlueScope plant in Port Kembla, near Wollongong, south of Sydney, will begin closing for two weeks on Monday. The interruptions are part of a protracted dispute over the company`s offer to apply further wage cuts and terms in a new company agreement (EA).

Negotiations on the new company agreement lasted more than 12 months and the unions took industrial action for seven months. BlueScope had initially said it would limit wage increases in the new deal to 7.5 percent over three years or an annual increase of less than 2.5 percent. Since then, it offers 3% per year, a figure that will not keep pace with the rise in the inflation rate. On Tuesday, the company offered more than 1,000 employees a 4% pay raise as part of a new three-year contract. The second year would be an increase of 4%, the third of 3%, the third year an increase of 3%. Workers at the Port Kembla steel plant have voted in favour of a tentative deal with Australia`s largest steel producer Bluescope, which will end months of damaging union action. The AWU`s position to resist BlueScope`s refusal to pay workers what they owe is a fictitious position. The union did nothing to avoid underpayment and acted as an arm of management to reduce the cost of „labor costs.” A workers` vote will be conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission to obtain formal approval of the new agreement. Dave Bell, general manager of manufacturing at BlueScope, said the company was pleased with the employees` „show of hands” to accept the company agreement offer. He is a former editor, education editor, state journalist and health reporter. Dave Bell, general manager of manufacturing at BlueScope, said the company was happy to „show the hand to employees” to accept the offer of the company deal. The task of these committees would be to break the isolation imposed by the union and coordinate industrial and political actions with steel producers across the country and counter similar attacks on their jobs and conditions internationally.

They are expected to make a strong call for a united struggle with other workers in the region, including workers at the Port Kembla coal terminal, who have been stranded for a week. Workers at the Port Kembla steel plant have voted in favour of an agreement in principle with Australia`s largest steel producer Bluescope to end months of damaging union action. Under the agreement, nearly half of the 500 job cuts will come from union ranks and 228 operational employees will lose their jobs. It is estimated that 147 company employees and 136 contractors will be reduced. Negotiations on the new company agreement dragged on for 12 months, with unions taking seven months of ongoing collective action. Paul Farrow, senior vice-chairman of the Australian Workers Union`s NSW branch, said the company`s tentative agreement will be formally approved in the coming weeks before the Fair Work Commission considers finalising it. Anna Patty is a senior editor for the Sydney Morning Herald and focuses on higher education. She has served as Workplace Editor-in-Chief, Education Editor, State Political Journalist and Health Journalist. Australian Workers` Union v BlueScope Steel (AIS) Pty Ltd [2021] FWC 1849 (27 April 2021) ( „We now look forward to formalising the vote in the coming weeks. Despite UTA`s efforts to crack down on workers and reach an „eminently achievable” deal with BlueScope, metalworkers voted unanimously for the strike in January. .

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