A union picket line has been established against Dulux in Rocklea. The workers are fighting for two key elements: the payment of sick leave and for redundancy payouts to be uncapped.
Currently redundancy payments are capped at 20 years, reducing the payout for workers who have worked for Dulux for upwards of 35 years. The issue arose when, in March last year, 60 redundancies were announced. This was later reduced to 40.
When negotiations broke down, a picket was established by the workers and their supporters. Dulux responded by erecting barricades on council land, aimed at harassing the picket.
Negotiations resumed on January 19, but Tony Dickson, a United Voice delegate and Dulux worker for 18 years, believes the company must “acknowledge those long serving members”.
United Voice has assisted the strikers with food, water and legal advice. Dickson says he is “there to negotiate” but “management refused to negotiate over key terms”.
Dickson said the workforce at Dulux has “delivered profits year on year … and for that we lose 40 jobs. We get a poor deal put on the table and [management] refuse to listen to some of our key claims, which are looking to benefit the loyal, longest serving of this company”.
Dulux CEO Patrick Houlihan received more than $3 million last year alone, excluding an interest-free loan, which he is not expected to pay back. Other executives receive similar payouts.
A worker of 30 years, who has been picketing every day, stressed that the workers are “just fighting for a decent payout”. He notes that they have been negotiating with the company since August and said on behalf of his working comrades: “We think it's a fair fight”.
Despite recent floods, these workers have created profits for Dulux constantly for years. This is more than a fair fight, it is the only reasonable course of action for workers discarded by those they have made rich.
As another picketer, a worker of 23 years, said: “We've been through three different owners and each has been worse than the last.” Three different owners: one constant workforce.
[If you wish to support the picketers, you can join their line at 1519 Ipswich Rd, Rocklea. You can go to the United Voice website or the United Voice Queensland Facebook page to keep up to date. You could also call Dulux customer service on 13 25 25 to let them know how you feel about this deal.]