Australia’s money printing facility is facing industrial strife as unions and the central bank gear up for a battle over low wage growth.
Workers at Note Printing Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) have voted to take protected industrial action after months of negotiations for fair wage rises in the new enterprise agreement hit a brick wall.
Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) Print Assistant Secretary Tony Piccolo hit out at the RBA, labelling them hypocrites for denying their own workers fair pay rises at the same time as calling for pay rises to boost the economy.
“RBA boss Phillip Lowe called on business to lift wages to boost household incomes and keep the economy on track, yet he won’t deliver this for his own workforce,” said Mr Piccolo.
“Dr Lowe told Parliament in February that he wanted to see 3.5% wage rises across the country. Then why is he refusing this acknowledge the hard work of his own workers with a 3.5% pay rise – rather than the 2% he’s offering, which is barely above inflation?” said Mr Piccolo.
Electrical Trades Union (ETU) Victoria Secretary Troy Gray said, “We support Dr Lowe’s calls for wage rises. But he needs to get his own house in order before he next approaches the pulpit.”
“If even the people who literally print money won’t treat their workers with respect and fairness, then clearly we have to change the rules so workers can get the pay rises we deserve. Even the Reserve Bank won’t give workers a pay rise willingly.”
The unions called on Note Printing Australia and the RBA to sit down with the workers to resolve the dispute as soon as possible and deliver the much-needed pay rise to their workers.
The protected action ballot on Friday returned a result of almost 97 per cent in favour of taking industrial action including work stoppages and overtime bans.
“The members just want a fair agreement that delivers the wage rises the RBA itself is calling for. But the workers have shown through this very strong result in the protected action ballot that they are willing to take action if the company refuses to come to the table,” said Mr Piccolo.