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Workers to vote on offer

Workers will head to the polls today and tomorrow to vote on the company's latest offer.
Workers will head to the polls today and tomorrow to vote on the company's latest offer. Mike Knott

BUNDABERG Sugar workers will head to the polls today and tomorrow to vote on the company's latest offer as part of lengthy negotiations for a new enterprise agreement.

Bundaberg Sugar operations general manager David Pickering said the company was offering 2.7% wage increases each year for three years and offering employees the option to have one or two weeks of their six weeks of annual leave bought back by the company.

But Electrical Trades Union state organiser Daniel Bessell said the offer was "not fair" and that employees were not impressed.

"We had a meeting with members again (on Tuesday) and they pretty much gave us the impression that they weren't happy with what's on offer," Mr Bessell said.

"They're not happy with the 2.7% and the current offer."

Mr Bessell said the 2.7% wage increase offer was not in line with other Queensland mills which had recently signed new agreements.

"A handful of sugar mills have signed off on 4% without attacking workers' conditions," he said.

Mr Bessell said mills which had offered 4% included Maryborough, South Kolan and Mackay.

"They just want a fair outcome," he said.

"They still want to strip out all of the (accrued days off) ADOs and they'll still lose four RDOs."

Mr Pickering said in relation to the ADOs, workers at some mills currently worked nine-hour days in order to accrue an extra day off and work a nine-day fortnight.

"We want to take that back to eight hour days and get rid of the ADOs to bring all the mills into line," he said.

"They'll still get their RDOs."

Mr Pickering said he expected the vote outcome to be tallied about noon tomorrow.

"It's a good opportunity to settle the issue with a reasonable pay rise," he said.

"It would be good to get this over and get on with the crush."

Topics:  electrical trades union maryborough wages


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