ALCOA workers have had “no choice” but to walk off the job until next Friday to launch an industrial strike over a new enterprise bargaining agreement.
According to Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) WA State Secretary Mike Zoetbrood, the industrial action comes on the back of Alcoa’s application to terminate the current agreement.
He said 1600 workers at the Kwinana, Pinjarra and Wagerup refineries and Huntley and Willowdale bauxmite mines would be affected.
“After offering numerous concessions to the company, workers had no choice,” he said.
“Our members are sensible and only want what’s fair and reasonable – a secure and good job.
“But members won’t accept the company using the threat of termination as a means of pressuring the workforce into accepting sub-par working conditions.
“If the company will not offer workers any job security then the agreement is not worth the paper it’s written on.
“This is a fundamental principle and it is not one worker will budge from.
“You can’t negotiate down the barrel of a gun.”
An Alcoa spokeswoman said the company’s proposed EBA would ensure employees would continue to receive very generous conditions and benefits.
“Alcoa wants to establish a modern EBA that provides employees with competitive pay and conditions, allows us to manage our operations efficiently and productively, and gives us the ability to respond to changing market and operating conditions,” she said.
“The best way Alcoa can continue to be an important contributor to our economy and to provide well-paid local jobs now and into the future is to remain internationally competitive throughout the business cycle.
“We are seeking to achieve this through a new modern EBA.
“We will ask employees to vote on a new EBA later this month.”
The spokeswoman said there were contingency plans to ensure the sites continue to operate during industrial action.
“The continued efforts of the employees who are maintaining our operations during this time are greatly appreciated,” she said.