The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union, and the Electrical Trades Union met with Norco management on Thursday to discuss the company’s plans for its Lismore ice cream factory.
The combined unions had called an urgent meeting with management to get answers following the announcement that Norco was granted $34.7 million in government support. We learned that Norco has requested an extension to the deadline for acceptance of the Anchor Business Support Grant and has asked for up to $11 million in funding that it was previously allocated under the federal government’s Regional Growth Fund.
The Norco board will meet next Thursday. The unions are calling on the board to address workers directly about the outcome of the meeting. We would like a worker representative to be present at the meeting.
The unions are also calling on the state and federal governments to speed up efforts to provide housing to residents impacted by the floods. From representing workers on mining and power generation projects, we know it’s possible to house large numbers of workers in rural or remote areas very quickly. We want to know why our governments can’t do the same in Lismore.
Quotes attributable to Cory Wright – State Secretary AMWU NSW & ACT
“Every time we come up to Lismore, we’re struck by how much work still needs to be done to get the region back on track. There are still people living in tents while we hear the news that more rain is on the way. We’ll be looking for ways the unions can help the community more directly outside of our advocacy for workers.
“The state and federal governments need to work harder to provide secure, safe housing for all impacted residents. It makes no sense that mining companies can efficiently set up workers’ camps in the middle of nowhere, but it’s proving too challenging to do the same in Lismore.”
Quotes attributable to Justin Smith – Secretary AMIEU Newcastle & Northern
“Keeping Norco in Lismore is our priority. We’re hopeful that an arrangement between the government and the company will see the rebuild of the factory get started. If there is an extended rebuild process, we’ll fight to make sure workers can take voluntary redundancies with the guarantee that their jobs will be there for them when the factory is rebuilt.
“Workers at Norco, and the entire Lismore community have been through so much this year. They need stability and clarity about the future as soon as possible.”
Quotes attributable to Allen Hicks – State Secretary ETU NSW & ACT
“Workers must be prioritised in these discussions. Norco cannot make decisions without keeping workers in the loop.
“The combined unions will continue to communicate with our members and work to support them as they’re impacted by the company’s decisions.”