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AMWU targets Australian Paper over wages

Wednesday, 17 January 2018
By Print21

The AMWU picket line at Australian Paper, Preston.

AMWU workers have formed a picket line outside the Australian Paper manufacturing facility at Preston in Melbourne to push for what they describe as a “fair deal” on wages.

In a live video posted on Facebook, AMWU member Margaret Peacock says workers are striking to demand pay rises that the Japanese-owned company has so far refused.

Australian Paper at Preston.

“We’re here out on the grass to strike for a fair deal at work, for our right to pay rises that the company says it’s not going to give us,” says Peacock. “They’re also trying to take four RDOs from us, and they’re also grandfathering our wages.  We really need people to come down here and support us and help us at 54 Raglan Street, Preston.”

Australian Paper, manufacturer of the popular Reflex brand office paper, employs a total of about 1300 people, including about one hundred at Preston. It’s not known how many workers are involved in the industrial action.

Production workers at the company’s Maryvale paper mill last year agreed to take a five per cent pay cut in a bid to secure the future of the operation.

Australia’s only manufacturer of printing and packaging paper is owned by Japanese giant Nippon Paper Industries. The company has been contacted for comment.

On the picket line – photo: Lannie Huynh.


Craig Dunn, Australian Paper’s general manager, communications, issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon to assure customers their needs will be taken care of during the action.

“The discussions between Australian Paper and our employees are ongoing and remain confidential,” says Dunn. “We’re not sure how long the current situation will continue but we’re seeking to reach a mutually acceptable outcome at the earliest time. We are committed to reaching an agreement that represents the best outcome for the company and our employees at Preston. We also have measures in place to meet the needs of customers during this phase of our discussions.”

3 Responses to “AMWU targets Australian Paper over wages”

  1. January 18, 2018 at 2:37 pm,

    William Bell

    I really hope I’m wrong but I think these jobs are in peril. The Japanese owners undoubtedly have factories elsewhere with lower overheads and wages. I think the days of unions holding sway over employers in low skill sectors like envelope manufacturing are gone. I hope I’m wrong.

  2. January 18, 2018 at 5:26 pm,


    I don’t think you are entirely wrong William. I would add that strikes are frowned upon by Japanese companies – they prefer negotiation and presentation of good argument. Unions are part of the business mix in Japan, and partake collaboratively with companies to ensure safe, well-paid work environments.
    They (AP workers) should just get back to work and the negotiating table.

  3. January 19, 2018 at 11:10 am,


    Nippon and its management put profits before its people , the money is made at the top and stays at the top.

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