Australia - 200 days on picket line for Boeing workers

Boeing maintenance engineers in Williamtown, Newcastle marked their 200th day on the picket line on the 17th December.

Submitted by Steven. on December 19, 2005

AWU National Secretary Bill Shorten said the 27 engineers and their families were remaining resolute in their battle to get Boeing to recognise their right to have their union negotiate a collective agreement on their behalf.

"This dispute is pretty tough on our members, who are now looking at the very real prospect of spending their Christmas on the picket line," Mr Shorten said.

"But they're not going to give in because they feel very strongly that they cannot go back to work in such unfair conditions.

"These skilled aircraft maintenance engineers are paid about $20,000 less per year than people with the same skills working in other parts of Australia.

"Through our current enterprise bargaining negotiations with Qantas, we know that Qantas aircraft maintenance engineers are paid $20,000 more than our members at Boeing Williamtown, and equivalent employees at Hawker De Havilland are earning roughly the same as at Qantas."

Mr Shorten said the engineers were pleased with the progress of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission's Inquiry into the dispute, which was likely to provide its report to the NSW Government early in the New Year.

AWU Newcastle Branch Secretary Kevin Maher thanked the local Newcastle community and Australians elsewhere for sending their messages of support to the Boeing workers and their families.

"Knowing that they have the support of other ordinary working Australians means the world to our members," Mr Maher said.