Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Statements by Members
Western Australia: Australian Workers Union
On Saturday the member for Brand and I met in solidarity with Australian Workers Union members working for Alcoa in Western Australia who have been trying to negotiate a new enterprise agreement. On Friday, around 1,500 workers from the mines and refineries across Kwinana, Pinjarra Waroona and Wagerup voted to strike indefinitely, waiting for Alcoa to come back to the negotiating table. These workers aren't fighting for more money. Instead, they've accepted a pay freeze. They're fighting for some job security in the increasingly unpredictable jobs market they operate in. Some of these guys have worked at Alcoa for longer than I have been alive. They are dedicated employees who, despite accepting the removal of minimum staffing levels, are being placed at risk by an employer who still wants to force redundancies while maintaining that there won't be any—all of this while the workers are mining and refining our bauxite for the benefit of an American company. It is the antithesis of good-faith bargaining. Alcoa have applied for their existing enterprise agreement to be cancelled. These workers have been negotiating with, effectively, a gun held to their head. Frankly, this is just another example of how it is time for us to change the rules when it comes to industrial relations in this country. The community is right behind them. They are offering union families discounted fuel and delivering food to the picket sites. They are showing that, in the Australian public's eye, behaviour by this multinational resources company is unacceptable. And they are demonstrating what we have always known: we are stronger together.