On September 19, 100 print and maintenance workers at printing company PMP's Wacol site south-west of Brisbane took protected industrial action for 48 hours in a bid to bring the company to the negotiating table for a new enterprise bargaining agreement. The workers were supported by their union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), which formed a peaceful picket line at the workplace entrance.
PMP is the largest printing firm in the Australia-Pacific region. As well as producing millions of books, directories and magazines each year, it produces enough junk mail items to stuff 7 million letterboxes twice weekly in Australia and New Zealand. Company directors have gained pay rises of 20%, while the workers are only asking for a 4% rise and protection of their current conditions.
The company is trying to force a new agreement onto the work force with 15 changes to their current conditions, including cutting long-service leave entitlements and overtime rates. The company has offered a paltry 3% "pay rise" that is linked to productivity improvements, however what the company is pushing would in effect amount to a $100 per week pay cut. PMP also wants the workers to go from a 35-hour week to a 40-hour week as well as working 12-hour instead of eight-hour shifts. Many of the workers have been working at PMP for over 20 years.
In NSW, workers at the PMP site in Moorebank are preparing for a two-week stoppage, while workers at the company's Chullora site are getting ready to strike for four weeks.