FOUNDRY workers at Bradken downed tools yesterday for an hour-long stop work meeting to let the company know their displeasure at plans to cut key conditions from their new EBA.
The workers, from the AMWU and AWU respectively, held flags, had a yarn and waved to supporters who tooted their horns as they drove past the manufacturing company's plant at Karrabin.
AMWU organiser Steve Franklin told the QT the company wanted to cut the payment of accrued sick leave on termination for new employees and lower the pay rate for new employees.
The QT was told new starters begin on what is called a C12 pay rate for unskilled labourers but the plan is to start them on a C13, which is lower.
It is not possible for workers to speak on the record but the QT understands the company is prepared to offer a 2% pay rise so long as the unions give up the conditions mentioned above.
That was rejected, although the union offered to meet the company halfway with a trial period for the C13 pay rates.
The workers' sick leave payout is capped at 96 days on termination and they agreed to bring that back to 48.
The company also wants to bring an end to the cash-out of sick days for new starters, the QT was told.
The union does not want to concede on this after fighting long and hard over many years for these rights, with the workers wanting their kids and grandkids to enjoy the same conditions.
The union also believes the sick leave termination payout condition encourages workers to turn up and not take 'sickies', thus boosting the company's productivity.
The union is seeking at least a 2% pay rise per year and to keep their sick pay termination conditions while agreeing to a trial period for the C13 pay rate for new starters.
The workers insist they have been hard done by for four years after agreeing to four-day weeks for months on end and also agreeing to a wage freeze for six months until work picked up.
There are 88 workers in the foundry and over 50 of them are union members.
"The guys aren't interested in having a lower pay rate for new starters or their sick leave termination payments taken away," Mr Franklin said.
"The company originally offered 1.5% and lifted that to 2%, but they still want to take away the workers' conditions."
Unfortunately Bradken did not respond to the QT's request for comment by deadline so we were unable to put their side of the story across.
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