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2018 news wrap: Strikes return to print

Friday, 21 December 2018
By Wayne Robinson

Envelope workers were out for two months before claiming victory over Australian Paper

It has been a long time since strikes hit the printing industry, but they returned in 2018, with the staff at Australian Paper’s envelope factory and at the nation’s banknote printer Note Printing Australia both taking industrial action.

The 90 envelope workers at the Nippon Paper owned Preston site of Australian Paper were out for more than two months, the strike coming after nine months of failed negotiations. Both sides claimed victory in the end, as workers fought back against proposed changes to their RDOs and pay increases.

The site is Australia’s largest envelope making business, it produces some two billion a year. The envelope world is in decline in the internet age, Candida closed its Sydney plant a year ago and now manufactures only out of Adelaide, while overseas the biggest envelope manufacturer in the US Cenveo collapsed under a mountain of debt.

Staff at Note Printing Australia (NPA) were taking industrial action for three months, in an attempt to up their pay increase and have leave to deal with domestic violence. The action caused delays in the release of the new banknotes. A new deal was agreed ten days after NPA locked out staff for a day, and threatened to lock them out permanently.

2018: Banknote printers took industrial action

Note Printing also found itself in the news over a massive $23m fine it received, together with its polymer supplier Securency, over payments to officials in various SE Asian countries which helped it gain valuable banknote printing contracts. The fine was actually issued in 2012, but only came to light this year when a suppression order was lifted.

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