Workers at Wedderburn have decided that enough is enough. Late last year, the hard-working field service technicians at the Thomastown scales company were getting sick of the lack of action on conditions and pay. So they decided to act.
Firstly, the joined the union. Secondly, they pursued their first EBA.
But in response, the company grew hostile, brought in specialised industrial relations consultants, and dragged their feet in negotiations with the workers.
So these brand new AMWU members, with the support of organisers Alistair Thomas and Paul Chirgwin, decided to take protected action to bring about real negotiations and maintain, if not improve, their conditions and pay.
AMWU members and organisers at the Thomastown picket line
At stake for the workers are on-call allowances for the technicians who service and calibrate scales at locations all around the state, as well as changes to time sheets, overtime, fair work hours, a fair wage rise, and the protection of their existing conditions.
Newly elected delegates Ian Millar, Humphrey Caspersz and Troy Hutman have led the way, holding firm against specialist IR consultants brought in from Sydney to fight the workers' claims.
In fact the workers have proved so strong and united in their battle that the company has brought in a second IR consultant to continue negotiations, after the first failed to resolve the dispute for the company.
Delegate Humphrey Caspersz said that their fight isn’t just about conditions and wages. “They [Wedderburn] just need to show us some respect. Most of us have worked here for 10-15 years and more, we deserve to be valued, not treated as though we’re expendable or a liability,” he said.
Former delegate Ian Millar said the workers were moved to take protected action after the company refused to negotiate fairly. “It felt like they were constantly moving the goal posts, or putting up roadblocks wherever they could. We just want to get a fair agreement sorted out, and head back to work,” he said.
Delegates Troy, Ian and Humphrey on the picket line in Thomastown
The united workers are still out on the picket line in Thomastown, holding strong despite the cold winds and tough battle with the company.
AMWU members and other unionists can help these workers with their 24 hour picket by spreading the word and joining them on site!
Please show your solidarity by sending emails of support to firstname.lastname@example.org and the AMWU will pass them on.
You can also drop by and show some solidarity to these workers at: 73 Latitude Boulevard, Thomastown