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Printers locked out at high-tech Reserve Bank print plant

Friday, 10 August 2018
By Patrick Howard
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Note Printing Australia locked out half its work force this morning in retaliation for ongoing industrial action by the AMWU, provoking the remaining workers to go on a one-day strike in support.

The workers will return on Monday maintaining their ongoing work bans on overtime and software implementation. They’re demanding a pay rise from the NPA, whose board of directors is made up of Reserve Bank members. The prolonged negotiations are snagged on a difference of one per cent with the union demanding 3.5 per cent to the NPA’s offer of 2.5 per cent.

According to Mick Bull, AMWU organiser, this morning’s picket was the result of the company’s actions. “We’re open to negotiations with the board but they won’t meet us. They only send their HR people who don’t have any authority to negotiate,” he said.

A petition signed by the entire workforce demanding a meeting with the Board was presented to the company. The enterprise bargain at the Craigieburn plant covers three unions, with the majority, 120 workers, belonging to the AMWU. One hour industrial stoppages are planned to continue with the threat of further escalation next week. A mass meeting of workers voted to continue the bans.

Bull points out what he terms the hypocrisy of Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, who’s on record as encouraging workers to demand largest pay rises. He is reported to have told politicians that average annual wage increases need to be about 3.5 per cent to achieve average inflation of 2.5 per cent, the middle of the bank’s target.

NPA was contacted but didn’t get back with any comment or explanation before deadline.

The industrial strife comes as NPA is congratulating itself on completing the ‘next generation banknote’ series (NGB) with Malcolm McDowell, CEO, claiming the production and issue of the complex banknotes highlights the company’s ability to industrialise innovative new security technologies, and high-end security printing. NPA took part in the international SUSI Optics Specimen Note project along with suppliers LenSys, KBA NotaSys, SICPA and KURZ. In addition to printing Australian banknotes and currency for such countries as Singapore and Chile, NPA also produces Australia’s passports.

2 Responses to “Printers locked out at high-tech Reserve Bank print plant”

  1. August 10, 2018 at 3:02 pm,

    William Bell

    What an ugly strike this is. On the one hand these workers must be some of the most secure in the country, they don’t need to worry about offshoring as their jobs quite simply aren’t going anywhere & we’re a few years away from going to a completely cashless society. Their demands also aren’t unreasonable. Cost of living increases easily exceed 3.5% so a 3.5% demand is reasonable.
    On the other-hand there must be thousands of redundant printers around the country that would give anything to have a job back in print. We’ve been laid off in our thousands, or are working for less than we were 15 years ago.
    I’m guessing the dispute will be resolved with a ‘let’s meet in the middle’ agreement’, I can’t see why it wouldn’t be. The AMWU must be on the bones of it’s ***e with the way manufacturing is headed in this country.

  2. August 10, 2018 at 9:22 pm,


    While I agree with the fact there are many printers out there that need a job there are plenty of jobs in Sydney and Melbourne paying better than NPA. These guys are trained and specialise in this process. They deserve to make as much as the rest of us. Hell i even tried to get a job there once. It was a seven year contract. To start someone now just wouldn’t make sense. These are the guys. They know the job. Look after them.

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