Australia: three-day lockout at Bridgestone ends

Union members at the tyre maker, Bridgestone, in Salisbury, South Australia have returned to work after a three-day lockout without pay.

Submitted by pingtiao on April 14, 2007

There has been no progress on their pay dispute as the company refused to negotiate in good faith.
“The company is refusing to negotiate with its workers and their union, and is hiding behind Howard’s laws to deny their workers a collectively negotiated agreement.”

AMWU organiser Colin Fenney said the workers have been trying to get the company to negotiate for the last twelve months over a new agreement.

“The company has insisted that the workers accept their offer without negotiation and it refuses to move from its position. They say cop it or leave it.”

Bridgestone has attempted to lure the workers to sign-on to a company agreement that would lead to a reduction in their wages.

“They had two secret ballots to get this up and the workers rejected both of them.”

The workers have voted to take more industrial action in the coming weeks in an attempt to force the company to negotiate seriously.

John Camillo said the workers were forced into this position because under the new IR laws, the union can’t go anywhere to get the dispute mediated.

“That’s the unfairness of Howard’s laws. What do you do if the boss says ‘That’s my position and I’m not moving from it’? Under the IR laws there’s nowhere workers can go to get the company to be negotiate in good faith.”

Bridgestone has offered its 500 staff a 6 per cent pay rise over three years but the workers want double that amount.

"The company is starting to section off groups of people to try and break up their solidarity, but it’s not working. They’re more united now because they’ve seen the attitude of the company and they’re not impressed with the way they’ve been treated.”