Defence sites across the country are facing disruption as union members take industrial action. They are protesting the Federal Government’s inadequate resourcing and insulting pay offer.
The bans and stoppages coincide with action by other unions across the Australian Public Service. However, our members' action is set to have an big impact due to their hands-on work in testing and maintaining a wide variety of military equipment.
Much of the equipment can't be used until our members give the sign-off.
In Victoria, South Australia, NSW and the ACT, defence sites are angry at the Federal Government's insulting Enterprise Agreement offer - with members in other states being consulted on pending action.
“It’s been noticeable that since Easter our members have hardened their attitude due to the Government deliberately stalling over the negotiations,” said AMWU Victorian organiser Charlie Pandolfo.
“They are taking the initiative in telling us which of the 10 actions they wish to implement and which will be most effective at their particular site.”
Action stations: Members at the munitions testing site at Port Wakefield who are acting to protect the integrity of their jobs.
Three national base-bans cover a stop on any Australian travel beyond the workplace and activity beyond normal hours, including any emergency call-backs or maintenance duties.
The only exception is for safety.
The ordnance testing ground at Graytown and weapons testing facility at Benalla are among sites which have banned escorting visitors, all commercial work, and processing paperwork.
Members in munitions testing at Port Wakefield in South Australia have taken all 10 actions, including overtime bans and stoppages of both 30 minutes and a full day.
“People here feel insulted, our members are being told by the Government that not only must they go backward in real terms but they want us to work longer to do so,” said delegate Peter Leggatt.
Technicians at Penrith also went on a 24-hour strike, with other action at Melbourne’s Victoria Barracks complex, Bendigo’s map-making facility, Canberra’s Campbell Park, plus two facilities of the Defence, Science and Technology Organisation.
AMWU Assistant National Secretary Mike Nicolaides said the Abbott Government was to blame.
“It has imposed impossible restrictions on bargaining,” he said.
“The result is an insulting pay offer, which takes more than it gives. This comes on top of their obvious disregard for technical and trade employees.”