Negotiations are continuing this week between mining equipment manufacturer Hastings Deering and 1600 AMWU members at sites in Queensland and the Northern Territory.
The workers are seeking a fairer share of the company’s mining boom profits.
In recent weeks, the members – working mostly in skilled metal trades – have taken protected industrial action in the form of 48-hour stoppages to support a new union collective agreement.
AMWU Assistant Qld Secretary, Rohan Webb, said the members had accepted a smaller pay increase in the previous agreement during the GFC, but now wanted a fairer arrangement.
“Our members are now simply standing up for a share of the booming services sector working with the resources industry,” he said.
An offer of 22% over three years was voted down two weeks ago. Mr Webb said the previous agreement had paid only 4.5% pay increase over two and a half years and this time a significantly better pay offer was now required.
Mr Webb said the Hastings Deering workers would receive higher compensation for their skills if they worked on resource projects.
“These tradespeople have the skills to go and work directly in the mining industry, but they are choosing to work in and support their local communities.”
Bowen Basin based AMWU delegate, Andrew Bell agreed.
“People in the industry know what we’re worth. The workers have a look at what other companies are paying and we’re a long way off at Hastings Deering.
“The 22% is really only going to put us back at a level playing field with everyone else. I’m out in the coal fields I see what the other companies are paying their labour hire workers and we’re still a fair way off.”
The experienced diesel fitter said AMWU members were prepared for a long, drawn out campaign.
“Our members remember what the company said three years ago. They promised we would be rewarded in the next agreement if we ‘took one for the team’.
“We haven’t forgotten that and now we’re prepared to see this out for as long as it takes.”