PWCS Workers Unanimously Endorse Future Action

The campaign for a fair contract at PWCS has been gathering momentum every day. After the 15 May work stoppage, the MUA put out the following statement:

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[Picture: PWCS Workers]

Workers at Rio Tinto’s subsidiary Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) in Newcastle have unanimously endorsed future industrial action if the company refuses to modify its anti-union proposals.

The strong endorsement for future action came after a four-hour work stoppage. During the stoppage, over 200 members heard updates about the bargaining from union leaders and delegates.

At the end of the meeting, the members unanimously endorsed a resolution giving the five unions authority to consider, over the next two weeks, any action necessary to bring about a resolution to the dispute. This may include future work stoppages and bans on overtime and working outside classifications or work-to-rule efforts.

Any future action will also include a broadening of international support from maritime and mining unions in the 4.5 million member International Transport Workers federation and IndustriALL, which represents 50 million workers in 140 countries, in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors.

“Rio Tinto has to hear a very clear message from today’s overwhelming show of solidarity by the workers,” said Ian Bray, the MUA’s assistant national secretary.

“We are determined to reach an agreement, hopefully through productive discussions with the company. However, we will consider all legal options open to us.”

“The message we received from the members is one of great disappointment about the company’s continued belligerence and attacks on their job security,” said Glen Williams, Newcastle Branch Secretary.

Talks between union members and PWCS have seen more than eight months of negotiations.

The single bargaining unit representing workers comprises the Maritime Union of Australia, the Transport Workers Union, the Electrical Trade Union, and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.

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