Nearly 100 workers at Note Printing Australia in Craigieburn, which is owned by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), were locked out by their employer on August 10.
The workers have been campaigning for a wage rise of 3.5%. Their demand is in line with the appeal made by RBA Governor Philip Lowe to federal parliament in February, when he said a generalised wage rise of 3.5% would help stimulate economic activity.
Management at NPA have refused to offer anything more than a 2.5% rise.
The main union involved in the dispute, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) Print Division, has called Lowe a “complete hypocrite”.
AMWU organiser Mick Bull told Green Left Weekly: “How can you believe anything the RBA governor says? On the one hand he calls on industry to lift wages and boost household incomes, yet on the other he won’t give his own workers a reasonable pay rise?”
A gathering in solidarity with the workers outside NPA’s front gate on August 10 was attended by various unions and supporters such as the Victorian Socialists.
Lead Victorian Socialists candidates for the November state elections for the Legislative Council Northern Metropolitan electorate, Stephen Jolly and Sue Bolton, were in attendance.
Bolton, who is a Socialist Alliance councillor in Moreland, which is adjacent to Craigieburn, said “this is just another example of how tough it is for workers today to maintain their living standards.
“We congratulate the NPA workers for taking this united stand while facing a lockout and a very powerful employer.”
Since the lockout, NPA has made another offer to members of the AMWU and the Electrical Trades Union and the Finance Sector Union, which also cover NPA workers.