Metal workers set up picket line for fair wages

The picket line at the East Preston tram workshop. Photo: Sue Bolton

Workers at the Downer Group’s East Preston tram workshop walked off the job on July 19 after being offered a 2.5% wage rise. Inflation is more than 5%.

The picket line of welders, boilermakers, fitter and turners and electricians are mostly members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, although some are members of the Electrical Trades Union and the Rail, Bus and Tram Union.

The unions are pushing the same pay and conditions as Yarra Trams maintenance workers for the Downer workers.

They are demanding: a 2-year agreement with a 5% pay rise each year; for fixed-term contract workers to be offered permanent jobs; long-service leave after 4 years; maintain their free public transport travel pass; and overtime at the double time rate.

The workers’ commitment to take strike action for their rights is an example for all workers and is an example of how all workers can win.