Members of the National Union of Workers (NUW) at Caltex’s site in Lytton, Queensland voted to start indefinite industrial action on October 25.
NUW members decided to take indefinite action following attempts by the company to effectively cut workers’ wages by 15%. They had been pursuing a modest annual increase in line with the Consumer Price Index, to protect their current conditions.
The threatened wage cut comes as the fuel industry giant announced historic profits of $522 million this year. Caltex CEO Julian Segal received $14 million following this profit surge. In the past two years 30 workers have been retrenched, including 11 in the past six months.
The company has proposed reducing the working week from 42 to 38 hours and eliminating the usual two hours of overtime, paid at 160%. It also wants to reduce redundancy entitlements from 63 weeks to 55 and cut superannuation contributions to the statutory minimum.
The Lytton site manufactures lubricants and motor oils. Its key clients are mining companies. It is the only Caltex lubricant manufacturing plant in the country, producing between 400,000 and 500,000 litres of oil a week, bound for mines around the country.
After a successful morning’s picket on October 24 that meant that trucks were backed up as they were defiantly refused entry, NUW members voted to repeat the blockade every morning from 5am until the company backs down.
The union welcomes and encourages all support at 1 Tanker Street, Lytton.