ALS techs hold firm against anti-union plan
Jul 24, 2012
AMWU Members are on strike at ALS in North Melbourne.
A move by Australia’s largest industrial testing company, ALS, to undermine the long-term wages and conditions of its own technicians through use of non-union contractors, has been met with strong opposition from AMWU members.
More than 30 technicians from three worksites in Victoria have entered their third week of protected industrial action, as they seek to block the aggressive, anti-union plan from ALS management.
AMWU TSA Organiser Dave Vroland said the members at ALS Industrial were prepared to strike for as long as necessary until their concerns were addressed.
“ALS has recently purchased Austpower (a rival testing company) which they are now running as a separate corporate entity.
“Austpower don’t have a collective agreement, they never have. Their workers are employed on vastly inferior pay and conditions to our members. We’re seeking a clause in the new collective agreement that guarantees ALS can’t employee any contractors under terms and conditions less favorable than the ALS agreement.
“Not only have ALS management refused to listen to our members but they’ve now walked away from the negotiation table. We have no alternative but to take this action until they agree to sit down again and discuss the clause.”
Mr Vroland said the company had a hard-line corporate agenda that was designed to divide the workers and smash collective activity.
“I have no doubt they would love to have a de-unionised workforce. If they had the opportunity to put their workers on AWAs (Australian Workplace Agreements) they would do it, no question at all.”
He urged ALS members across Australia, and other testing technicians to support the striking members.
“We think members in ALS, right across the board, regardless of which agreement they’re covered by should have a strong interest in the outcomes here.
“That also includes NDTs (Non-Destructive Testing) at other workplaces. This is the benchmark agreement. What happens here will be watched very closely by other companies around the country.”
Despite the loss of wages, AMWU delegate Bill Bate, said the determination of the technicians (based in North Melbourne, Morwell and Sale) was growing every day.
“Everyone is sticking strong. We’re a pretty tight group, there aren’t a lot of us. But we’re determined not to see our pay and conditions get undermined in the long term.
“There has been no movement from the company since day one. We just want to see them (ALS management) return to some good faith bargaining.”
Contact Email: news(at)amwu(dot)asn.au