Textile workers resist AWAs

Issue 

Workers employed by the Bruck Textiles, Australia's largest maker of woven fabrics, at its main manufacturing plant in the Victorian town of Wangaratta have twice voted to reject management's non-union agreements that would significantly reduce their entitlements and have instead requested the company negotiate with their union, the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union (TCFUA).

The 300 workers have had no pay rise since December 1, 2004, while the company has refused to negotiate with the union. "Bruck management now says the workers will only get a pay rise if they sign AWA [individual] job contracts that reduce their rights and entitlements", a September 6 Australian Council of Trade Unions media release reported.

"The workers at Bruck are working hard making the material used for uniforms for the Australian army in Iraq and for the Victoria Police and deserve to be treated with dignity — not in the shabby way the company has treated them under the Work Choices IR laws", TCFUA state secretary Michele O'Neil was quoted as saying.