CONTINUING enterprise agreement negotiations at Wetherill Park's Ausreo reached a new low last week, with 24 workers deciding to walk off the job on an indefinite strike.
As well as other requests, the workers, through the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union, initially called for a 36 per cent wage rise over three years. The company rejected this.
The union then requested a 24 per cent increase over the same period. This, too, was rejected.
The company's management, via a statement to the Champion, claimed the increase was "not sustainable and would threaten the viability of Ausreo's business and the ongoing employment" of all staff.
Ausreo supplies concrete products to the building and construction industry in NSW, Queensland and Victoria.
The log of claims presented to the business by the union also called for Wetherill Park workers to be given increases to long-service leave, as well as the same redundancy payments and general working conditions as those in Victoria.
Union delegate Dennis Ngo said employees were not being paid while on strike.
"They only want to give us a 3 per cent bonus, which is taxed, over three years," he said.
"The company also has a site in Victoria and the workers there do the same work but they have higher wages, better conditions and a better redundancy agreement.
"We just want the same as what the workers get in Victoria."
While on strike, the workers have been blocked from entering the Ausreo site at Wetherill Park. "Until AMWU members realise these claims are unreasonable and unsustainable for Ausreo, they will remain locked out under the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009," said Ausreo management.
The management team said the company had spent the past five months explaining to workers, via numerous meetings in English and Vietnamese, the repercussions of taking industrial action under the Act.
Management said it remained optimistic and open for further negotiations with the AMWU and its members.
You can read the full statement made by Ausreo's management team here