By ETU WA Organiser Simon Brezovnik

Bargaining had been slow going at Laminex’s Dardanup particleboard manufacturing plant in WA due to the length of time between meetings and the plant manager moonlighting as the president of the Bunbury Geographe Chamber of Commerce.

The previous agreement had been negotiated during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic where workers had agreed to a 2% per year increase and nothing else to help Laminex out during uncertain times. It was time for a fix-up.

We had 100% ETU membership at the plant, so when negotiations stalled and workers tired of the delays, they voted to take protected industrial action, along with our AMWU comrades. This was the first time in over 16 years that the maintenance employees decided to take industrial action. Their steely resolve quickly paid off.

Laminex workers are now celebrating after the threat of industrial action delivered a suite of improvements, such as 4% per year pay rise, 62% increase to the supervisors allowance, training on days off at double pay and a 30-minute paid lunch break for any worker on a 12 hour shift.

“Once again, it was the unwavering willingness of the ETU members to exercise their workplace rights and take protected industrial action, which was the critical factor in getting our EBA claims agreed to, said ETU WA Organiser Simon Brezovnik.

“When workers stand together and support one another, they are more likely to succeed in their efforts to improve their pay and conditions.

“A big shout out to our bargaining reps at Laminex who put in a massive effort and a lot of their own time to get this EBA across the line,” he said.

It pays to be Union!

This article was publised on 28 November 2023.