Strike at Sun Metals


Strike at Sun Metals

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — A strike by more than 1000 workers has halted construction of the $1.2 billion Sun Metals Zinc Refinery, south of Townsville. The action is over workers' right to choose their unions.

A meeting of around 200 workers on March 3 voted to ignore an Industrial Relations Commission recommendation to return to work. Members of the Australian Workers Union, Australian Metal Workers Union, Combined Electrical and Plumbers Union, Builders Labourers Federation and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union have maintained a picket line at the site entrance. Trucks have been turned away.

The dispute at the site of the world's biggest non-ferrous refinery came after Sun Metals refused to allow the CFMEU and BLF to join negotiations because they are not signatories to the current enterprise agreement. CFMEU industrial office Michael Ravbar said the Sun Metals workplace agreement contained sub-standard conditions which had caused discontent for some time. "The guys have had enough", he said.