The Knauf factory picket line in Port Melbourne was solid on October 10 — day 25 — as members of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) campaign for a decent enterprise agreement.
On my last visit a music session, led by an African drummer, was underway and spirits were high.
The picket arose from a dispute over a new enterprise agreement for the plasterboard workers who work for Knauf, a German transnational corporation.
The 70 workers, who are all CFMEU members, want pay rises as well as safety improvements and rules to limit Knauf’s ability to use casual and labour hire workers.
The old enterprise agreement, which expired on June 30, included clauses on procedures to decide how to fill absent positions and how to allocate overtime.
When negotiations stalled, workers began their industrial action, including work bans and short stoppages. Knauf responded by locking them out.
[Supporters are encouraged to visit the picket at 17-47 Turner Street, Port Melbourne between 6am and 2pm on week days. Donate to the lockout fund here.]