Knauf plasterboard factory workers in Port Melbourne voted on October 25 to return to work after they forced the company to abandon plans to increase its use of labour hire.
A 40-day picket forced Knauf to agree to a new enterprise agreement that, as the former agreement did, includes a process for filling vacancies that prioritises permanent work contracts rather than labour hire or casual employment.
The new agreement provides wage rises of 5% for the first year (backdated to July 1) and a further 4% in each of the subsequent three years.
It also includes a laundry allowance (important for workers who spend all day in dust and chemicals), an income protection scheme, double time pay for all overtime, improved staffing levels and union training.
Viraj Dissanayake, a Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union delegate at the Knauf factory, told Green Left: “We were not just fighting for ourselves but for everyone who will work for Knauf in the future, for everyone in construction and for workers in every industry who are facing casualisation right now.
“This fight is not just for these workers but, beyond that, for people in every industry whose pay and conditions are going backwards as the bosses try to make us pay for their crisis.”