Workers at global packaging manufacturing giant GPI in Melbourne have reached an in-principle agreement today that will see the lowest paid workers receive a nearly 8 per cent pay rise over two-and-a half years, receive back pay until June this year, a casual conversion labour hire clause and commitment to a classification structure review over the life of the agreement.
Workers were about to enter their fifth week of strike action after prolonged and difficult negotiations when the company came to the table at the final hour – just before Christmas.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union represents has fought hard for the 120 workers at GPI in Braeside who’ve been on strike since November 19. The global packaging giant originally offered a low $0.45 on top of a low hourly rate of $22.46, which workers rejected.
Members also gained a commitment from GPI to recognise the indigenous custodians of the land on which they operate through a working committee to ensure a culturally sensitive ceremony culminating in the permanent installation of an indigenous flag.
Quotes attributable to Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) Victorian Assistant State Secretary Tony Piccolo
“There’s a major sense of relief for these workers who can now head into Christmas with the pay rise they deserve and with back pay and better conditions.
“These workers are amazing and they’ve been through a lot, it’s been a huge act of solidarity to see the workers unite in their fight for better wages onsite. That fight has been about winning respect for these workers - secure jobs, better pay and conditions.
“This is a company that paid $1.45b for another company, paid its CEO millions of dollars, and then dragged its heels over proper pay rises and conditions for their lowest paid workers.
“We were able to use the international arm of the union movement through United Steel Workers and others to put pressure on the global CEO to give these workers a better deal.”
Quotes attributable to Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) National Secretary Steve Murphy
“We’re seeing an increase in the number of disputes where we have to fight for respect for workers, secure jobs, and pay rises.
“This win highlights how critical it is to join your union right now. When you have your union in your corner, you win.
“You can’t get a better Christmas present than better pay and conditions and job security.”