Around 100 workers from the Australian Submarine Corps Henderson facility will stop work tomorrow (Tuesday 29 November) as unprecedented meddling by the Federal government continues to choke an enterprise bargaining process that has already dragged on for two years.
Members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union and Electrical Trades Union including boilermakers, electricians and mechanical fitters at the ASC’s Australian Marine Complex facility south of Perth voted overwhelmingly to endorse protected industrial action including stop work meetings, bans on work away from site, overtime and call outs.
AMWU WA State Secretary Steve McCartney said members had elected to stop work for two and half hours from 2:45pm next Tuesday as the first step toward breaking the deadlock.
“Unfortunately the Federal government’s unprecedented meddling in this process has left our members with no choice but to take protected industrial action to get some of kind of compromise on the table,” he said.
“The Liberals’ imposition of Australian Public Service guidelines has put the bargaining process in a straightjacket as they continue to wage their ideological war on Australian workers.
“These workers aren’t public servants. They get none of the benefits of the public sector but are now expected to accept public sector bargaining constraints.
“The government is hell-bent on removing workforce consultation on critical workplace matters such as rostering and permanency of employment, which is industry-standard to avoid escalation of disputes across the heavy engineering sector.”
ETU State Secretary Les McLaughlan said members had had enough of the inflexible and heavy-handed approach imposed by the Federal government, and had no choice but to take action to break the deadlock.
“ASC has known industrial peace for many years due to the diligent work of union representatives and constructive approach of Submarine Corp management,” he said.
“We value the stability on the shop floor but we won’t sit by as one side tries to throw all that out the window. Our members are dedicated, highly skilled and highly productive. They deserve better than this shabby treatment.
“Our ASC members are determined to get a fair outcome and are united in their resolve to get one.”
AMWU delegate Gerry Higton said members were hoping for a reasonable offer as soon as possible.
"It's disappointing it’s come to this but we cannot allow our conditions to be ripped away. It's not about money,” he said.
“If the government hadn't forced this policy on us we'd already have an agreement and be back to business as usual and concentrating on the job that we love, maintaining our defence force subs.”