Orica Strike Over Potential $10,000 Pay Cut
Release date: 16/12/2014
Operations at more than 20 Hunter mines were at a standstill on Tuesday afternoon as essential workers downed tools to strike against cuts to pay and conditions.
Newcastle Herald, by Peta Doherty, 16 December 2014
A minute silence at the beginning of the Orica stopwork meeting in memory of the lives lost during in the Sydney siege. Picture: Supplied
At an emotional stop-work meeting at Singleton RSL more than 100 Orica Explosives employees vowed to stand firm against a proposed enterprise agreement they say could cut wages by up to $10,000 per year.
Transport Workers’ Union NSW Secretary-elect Michael Aird said without the Orica Explosives employees, who deliver explosives and detonate them, there would be no blasting and nothing to mine.
“For more than 12 months our member-led team has been negotiating for a new enterprise agreement with Orica management,” Mr Aird said. ‘‘Orica management has refused to put a realistic deal on the table,’’ he said.
The union’s Newcastle and Northern Sub-branch secretary Mick Forbes said the proposed deal was a ‘‘bitter pill’’ to swallow and would mean most of the 130 affected workers would take home a reduced pay packet.
‘‘We understand that we are no longer in a mining boom but our members didn’t see any advantage from that,’’ Mr Forbes said.
The emotionally charged meeting was full of anxious people ‘‘who do not believe they have been treated fairly by the company’’, Mr Forbes said.
‘‘Our members are prepared to meet in the middle but negotiations are far from middle ground,’’ he said.
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