Pilkington dispute ends with assurances

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Pilkington dispute ends with assurances

A five-day dispute threatening supply to Australia's automotive and construction industries has ended with both sides claiming victory in a newly-negotiated enterprise agreement.

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A five-day dispute threatening supply to Australia's automotive and construction industries has ended with both sides claiming victory in a newly-negotiated enterprise agreement.

Some 170 workers at Pilkington Australia's Dandenong glass factory went on strike five days ago over wages, job security and the powers of the AIRC. But the workers voted today to return to work at 6am tomorrow, accepting the company's original offer of a 9% wage rise over 27 months, plus assurances on the other issues.

This puts an end to a potential crisis which could have seen three auto manufacturers without windscreens from next week, and a similar scenario in the building and construction industry.

Following talks chaired by the Australian Council of Trade Unions on the weekend, the workers now have a written agreement that the company will turn to the federal Industrial Relations Commission when disputes arise. The company has also promised that it will turn first to the national office of the Australian Workers' Union before the AIRC.

But the company is claiming this is a win also, with Pilkington Australia's vice-president of HR, Russell Howard, telling WorkplaceInfo the new procedure provided 'a better structure and a more positive outcome', as during these negotiations the firm had to deal with five different branches of the AWU.

Workers at the firm's two Sydney plants, in Alexandria and Ingleburn, voted yesterday not to take strike action after the weekend talks resolved various site-specific issues including a team co-ordinator's allowance, multi-skilling and crewing. Some 5% of the wage rise will apply on signing, with a further 4% to follow 15 months later.

The union, which was seeking 12% over two years, says the deal is a commonsense one, and a snub to the Howard Government's 'divisive approach to industrial relations'.

 

 
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