Skilled manufacturing workers from Pfizer’s pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Mulgrave rallied at Pfizer’s corporate office in central Melbourne today following an impasse in bargaining.
From 10:30pm yesterday, more than 100 United Workers Union (UWU) members from the pharmaceutical plant stopped work for the second time this month in an attempt to protect previously won conditions for new starters.
Pfizer marginally improved its wage offer from its earlier one but it still fell short of current and projected inflation increases.
However, the workers’ main motivation for striking is to prevent Pfizer from removing the existing rostered day off (RDO) provision for new starters.
The US-based multi-national giant reported a record $25 billion profit last financial year, which could largely be attributed to the global acquisition of the Pfizer Cominarty COVID-19 vaccine.
United Workers Union National Secretary Tim Kennedy said members were unwilling to accept a two-tier system in their workplace whereby new hires were unable to enjoy the same entitlements of their colleagues.
“Workers at Pfizer are not silly, they know the company’s attempt to remove the RDO is a cynical attempt to fracture the workforce,” Mr Kennedy said.
“Provisions that allow for a better work-life balance should be improving. Instead, Pfizer is intent on taking away perks for future hires, taking things backwards.
“Pfizer is not short of coin. What the company spent on high-priced corporate lawyers dragging the union into the commission could have been put to better use and the dispute could have been resolved earlier this week.”
Workers at Pfizer will consider further indefinite strike action if an in principle cannot be reached in coming weeks.
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