Call to arms for industry workers on Rio sites
WORKERS are determined to convince their colleagues to vote 'no' on new work agreements offered by contractor Monadelphous.
This afternoon 35 industrial workers, and members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union gathered in the car park at the soccer fields on Benaraby Rd.
They say they were not allowed to hold their meeting in the car park at Monadelphous' office.
The proposed agreement - a two year offer maintaining current rates and allowance across Central Queensland, has already been rejected twice.
That agreement covers the major Rio Tinto sites including QAL, Yarwun and Boyne Smelter.
"We need everyone to vote," one worker said.
"We need to stand up and be counted or bend over and be mounted," yelled another.
Today they voted unanimously to file paperwork to make an application for a Protected Action Ballot.
Protected Action Ballots are controlled by the Fair Work Commission and used to establish a transparent process so workers can discreetly vote whether or not they want to pursue industrial action.
AMWU's Gladstone organiser Phil Golby said an agreement that offers no pay increase for two years was as good as a pay cut.
"We've asked for an increase of 2.5% per annum (in line with CPI) which they have rejected," Mr Golby said.
"An increase that doesn't allow for inflation rates is not a fair agreement."
Mr Golby met with delegates from Monadelpheous on Wednesday.
He said they hadn't been prepared to change single words in the agreement including a number of spelling mistakes - including 'lodgment' in reference to information tabled before an authority.
Monadelphous general manager Jon Hall was contacted for comment.
The Observer was told a representative from its Perth office would be in touch, but no representative provided comment.
Note to "vote yes" a rude surprise
Monadelpheous has delivered pieces of information about its proposed agreement in with workers' payslips.
The note is three bullet points asking employees to support the new agreement - a two year offer maintaining current rates and allowances.
The third point reads "we need your help to secure and retain work in Central Queensland."
One worker, who asked not to be named, said when he saw the note with his payslip he was shocked.
"I thought, how rude is that?" he said.
"For us older guys we just screw it up and throw it in the bin.
"But the younger ones, and the new ones feel intimidated.
"It's propaganda to scare us into signing. People are scared, scared to lose their jobs and worried about losing their houses.
"They're just trying to scare us into signing."
Monadelphous general manager Jon Hall was contacted for comment. The Observer was told a representative from the Perth office would be in touch, but no representative provided comment.