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Issue #1496      6 April 2011

Newspaper workers maintain important protections

Rural Press workers in regional NSW and Victoria have withstood moves to remove their long-standing redundancy entitlements and instead won the union collective agreement they campaigned for.

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) National Print Division secretary Lorraine Cassin, who celebrated the result at Wagga’s Daily Advertiser, said the win was testament to the resolve shown by members.

“They refused to be pushed by Rural Press into a significantly weakened agreement. Their entitlements were important to them. They wanted to know that if they were made redundant, years of loyal service would count for something.”

Under the agreement proposed by Rural Press a cap was to be introduced on the number of weeks workers could accrue in redundancy entitlements. Many would have been eligible for four times less under the proposal.

“It’s sad our members had to take industrial action to keep their current conditions, but I am so very proud of the united stand they have taken,” Ms Cassin said.

“We have a number of agreements at major print workplaces coming up for negotiation this year, including News Limited and The Age. Our members know they may face similar challenges to their conditions. This result is proof that together we are stronger no matter how big the site, collectively we are stronger.”

Delegate at the Wagga Daily Advertiser Louise Brown said the workers were delighted with the result.

“We weren’t fighting for money – we were fighting for our conditions. We felt they were too important to sign away.

“It’s only a short agreement but it will allow us to look at others things such as updating the maternity clause and increasing pay in 15 months time.

“We were in regular phone hook-ups with members around our state and Victoria. Realising that everyone else was going through the same thing was great, it made us a stronger,” she said.   

Next article – GST – A tax for the rich, a tax on working people

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