The fight is on at Bluescope Steel, in Western Port Hastings, where 86 maintenance workers from the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) are holding their picket lines in the face of scab labour. The workers are under attack from their employer Silcar and Bluescope Steel, which contracts its plant maintenance to Silcar. The steel manufacturing plant employs around 1400 people full-time and produces more than a million tonnes of steel products a year.
On November 26, after four months of negotiations, workers at industrial air conditioning manufacturer Buffalo Trident walked off the job indefinitely. The workers are fighting to have income protection and wage increases of 4% in the first year and 5% in the second year included in their enterprise bargaining agreement. Management at Buffalo Trident is ferociously anti-union. Evidence of this is that there have been no new union members at the plant since the introduction of Work Choices.
A protracted industrial dispute between construction giant John Holland and 39 sacked workers at the West Gate Bridge reconstruction project in Melbourne continued on March 27, with a vibrant demonstration by union members and their supporters at the bridge. The workers temporarily called off their three-week community protest at the John Holland worksite after the company finally agreed to enter into negotiations early last week. The workers, however, pledged to continue their demonstrations every morning at the bridge until a satisfactory settlement is reached with the company.