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Australian Paper reopens talks with union

Wednesday, 28 February 2018
By Graham Osborne

Australian Paper and the AMWU have agreed to return to the negotiating table in a bid to end a strike over wages at the company’s Preston envelope manufacturing facility that has now entered its 7th week.

Both parties will be back at the Fair Work Commission in Melbourne this afternoon at 2pm.

“They made the first step and I think that’s a good sign,” says union delegate Dean Griffiths, who’s led 87 workers on a picket line outside the factory since mid-January.

“We’ll meet at the commission offices but not in front of a commissioner so it will be the first meeting on neutral ground. It gives us a chance to get the ball rolling. The company got in contact so we’re hoping they will have something better to offer than the last time.”

Griffiths will join two delegates from Preston and an IR officer from AMWU Victoria across the table from Australian Paper’s legal team and company representatives.

“We don’t have any further comments to make at this stage,” said Craig Dunn, GM Communications & Sustainability for Australian Paper.

Australian Paper’s envelope manufacturing facility at Preston in Melbourne.

The long-running dispute went before a full bench of the FWC in Melbourne last week after Australian Paper – owned by Japan’s Nippon Paper Group – applied for a suspension of the picket line amid reports the company was running low on supplies and had been forced to import envelopes from overseas to meet demand.

Griffiths says workers are seeking ‘modest’ wage increases of 2.5 percent over three years while the company has offered a four-year deal including a wage freeze for one year, 2 percent rises in the second and third years and 2.5 percent in the fourth.

 

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