Regional printers shred Fairfax agreement
Feb 17, 2011
Regional Fairfax printers assess management`s latest offer
AMWU members in the newspaper industry are resisting an attempt by Fairfax Media to reduce pay and conditions for printers in regional NSW.
This week printers from daily regional Fairfax/Rural Press papers around NSW began protected industrial action in the form of two hour stoppages
Steve Vine from the NSW Print Division of the AMWU said the action could affect the production of newspapers.
“Unfortunately our members have had to take this action. They couldn’t standby and watch important protections be taken away, nor did they want to see pay in their industry undermined in the long term.”
Under Fairfax’s latest workplace agreement offer, new printers at daily regional papers will enter the recently created Graphic Arts award at Level 5 or 6.
“Under their proposal, new employees in pre-press production at the Central Western Daily could be classified at Level 5 or 6 instead of the normal Level 8. The difference is around $100 a week. There’s no doubt Fairfax/Rural Press want to lower wages; they want to introduce cheaper labour.
Mr Vine believes this, along with a move to ban overtime, is a direct move to undermine pay in the industry.
“It’s a big slap in the face for regional workers. They are the forgotten workforce and this cynical move by Fairfax proves just that,” he said.
The award modernisation process-finalised last year-merged a series of awards covering the print industry. Under Fairfax’s proposed agreement the newly established Graphic Arts Award would be applied to existing print operators at all daily printers in regional NSW.
Printers at both daily and non-daily newspapers are fighting to ensure redundancy entitlements are maintained in the new agreement.
Rural Press delegate Louise Brown, from The Daily Advertiser in Wagga Wagga, said the new award severely reduced longstanding redundancy entitlements at her workplace.
“They want to put a cap on the number of weeks accrued in redundancy entitlements. Some of our workers are eligible for over four times what Fairfax/Rural Press have proposed.
“They’ve worked here for over 30 years and they don’t want to lose something they fought so hard for.
“We are very determined not to sign off on a substandard agreement. We’re willing to ride it out as long as it takes. We’ve got too much to lose to sign off on something inadequate.”
Contact Email: amwu(at)news(dot)asn(dot)au