Vote time in Don KR enterprise dispute

About 70 maintenance workers involved in an enterprise agreement dispute at Castlemaine’s Don KR Factory have been asked to vote on whether to accept the latest offer from parent company George Weston Foods Limited.
Pay and conditions are at the heart of the enterprise agreement dispute which erupted in a series of stoppages and bans from late last month when 70 maintenance workers – including mechanical fitters, tradespersons and electricians – decided to take action in rejection of the company’s offer.
At the time of the Midland Express going print yesterday afternoon, the workers were meeting on site and taking a vote following a four-hour meeting attended by George Weston management and union organisers and shop stewards on Friday.
Following Friday’s meeting, Electrical Trades Union branch organiser Damian King told the Midland Express that as a result of the lengthy discussions a further four-hour work stoppage that had been notified for yesterday had been averted.
“We’ve made progress in the negotiations today,” he said on Friday.
“We’re not going to proceed with our stoppages of work on Monday and we’re going to have a report-back meeting to the members on Monday afternoon about the state of negotiations.
“There’s a proposal for settlement in relation to wage increases, employment conditions and also in terms of ongoing shift roster arrangements.
“It’s quite a comprehensive negotiation that’s occurred and it covers all those areas.
“We’ve made significant progress in the last six weeks since the members commenced taking industrial action.”
Senior management from George Weston, officials and shop stewards from the ETU and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union attended Friday’s meeting in Castlemaine.
While guarded about exactly what the rejected offer involved, Mr King had earlier described it as “unacceptable, below CPI” and “the worst they’ve offered anywhere”.
Meanwhile the company had stated that negotiations had been ongoing since May and that Don Smallgoods had tabled proposals that were “fair and reasonable”.

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