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Issue #1519      21 September 2011

Jeld-Wen lockout continues

Several hundred Forestry Division CFMEU members in four states remain on strike in response to a lock out initiated by their employer (see last week’s GuardianLockout at giant door and window manufacturer). Corinthian Doors, owned by American company Jeld-Wen, has sent text messages to its workers threatening a further lockout if they do not come back to work on their next shift.

The company began to use labour hire workers as strike breakers at the St Mary’s site in Sydney. The union understands that the strike breakers are supplied by the same firm of industrial consultants who have advised Corinthian throughout the dispute.

In recent negotiations the company changed its wage offer to a flat rate amount instead of the 2.5 percent it had previously offered. The union’s analysis of the new offer is that for most workers covered by the agreement the new offer is only 0.1 percent more than the Company had previously offered and for some workers it actually amounts to less than had previously been offered.

The company’s new wage offer for the first year of the agreement is still 1 percent below CPI for most workers covered by the agreement. The company continues to insist that workers must give up conditions like tea breaks to justify a higher wage increase.

The union’s lead negotiator Phil Davies said: “This is an attempt to starve these workers into submission. Instead of working with us to find a solution they have reduced their offer to some workers this week.” Corinthian have threatened the union with legal action and alleged that it is not bargaining in good faith while at the same time they have cancelled a meeting, structured their new wage offer in a deceptive manner and have engaged in a range of practices designed to threaten and intimidate members.

The union believes the company has condoned the use of unlicensed security guards to patrol the union’s peaceful assembly at some sites.

The union and its members welcome international support from the BWI and from local unionists who are invited to visit the peaceful protest in their state. Any other offers of support or assistance from the trade union movement will be greatly valued.

To offer support or assistance for the Corinthian and Stegbar workers in NSW, SA, VIC or WA as the lockout continues contact NSW district secretary Craig Smith on 0414 225 592 or CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor on 03 9274 9200.  

Next article – Coalition can’t see manufacturing jobs for the trees

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