Economic crisis not a free pass for wage cuts

Workers have every right to ask to see their company’s books to make sure workers are getting a fair deal.

When Sydney manufacturing firm URI claimed they could not afford a pay rise for their workers in negotiations for a new collective agreement, AMWU NSW Secretary, Paul Bastian, wrote to the company asking them to provide evidence.

“The boss was offering 2% and then said he wouldn’t go further than 3% claiming that they were doing it tough,” said Mr. Bastian.

“So we requested to see the books.

Mr Bastian said that good faith bargaining had obligations for employers and unions alike.

“Workers have a right to know the financial state of their companies. It’s our job to represent our members to the best of our ability and we can’t simply accept every boss telling us they can’t afford a pay rise.

“Bosses are always saying they can’t afford it. If we believed them without any questioning or investigation, no one would ever get a pay rise.”

Mr. Bastian said the AMWU would always work with companies that were struggling to get the best outcome for workers.

“Our runs are on the board on this issue. Where there is a legitimate concern, we have accepted a four-day week. We have worked with companies where workers are willing to negotiate to keep their jobs.”

Mr Bastian said that the union has reached an agreement with URI and that despite reports from the company the process was completely reasonable.

“We sent them a letter making the request to see their books. And that’s part of our job. It’s what our members expect - that we do whatever we can to get the best deal.”

Contact Person: Paul Bastian
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