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Issue #1556      18 July 2012

CSL members in Victoria strike for rights at work

More than 50 workers had taken protected industrial action at CSL and were planning to take a second 24-hour action as The Guardian went to press. CSL develops and manufactures vaccines and plasma protein biotherapies.

Members of the National Union of Workers voted to take industrial action after negotiations with the company at their Broadmeadows Melbourne site broke down.

As well as the stop work action, there will also be a ban on international blood processing at the site. Members have ensured that there will be no risk to supplies of critical blood products, and the government has a significant stock pile of these products.

The NUW members at the CSL production facility are Operators, and they take real pride in the work they do for the company. The union said all they’re asking is that they get the respect they deserve for the hard work they do for the company.

The main issues that members want in their new EBA are:

  • The continuation of 12 hour shifts. CSL Operators have worked 12 hour shifts for 20 years, the company wants to get rid of this, but many workers have their lives planned around working 12 hour shifts and members do not want this taken away from them.
  • Members want to be shown respect for their work; for the last 20 years CSL provided thermal socks for working in cold areas – and now after 20 years they’re taking the socks off them. Workers have the right to be treated with dignity at work.
  • A fair wage increase. Company profits have gone past $1 billion and the wage offer is too low. Members are asking for 6%.
  • NUW members want their own Agreement. They are production operators and their needs are different from other workers at the site, the issues they need resolved are specific to their work.

The union says these workers’ claims should be met by the company, and calls on CSL management to return to the negotiating table for a fair and swift outcome to be resolved.  

Next article – Indefinite strike action at Coles warehouse

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