WORKERS ON STRIKE AGAINST UNSAFE, UNFAIR WORKPLACE
What: Workers go on strike protesting poor treatment by DIY and gardening essentials manufacturer Vinidex.
When: Workers on strike from 6am TODAY, May 20.
Who: Delegate Richard Matelau and union rep Isaac Avery available for interview on-site 10am-11am.
Why: Vinidex’s refusal to negotiate a fair deal for more than a year has left workers no option.
Where: 224 Musgrave Rd, Coopers Plains QLD 4108
Visuals: Workers in high-vis with placards protesting about the raw deal from Vinidex.
DIY and gardening essentials manufacturer Vinidex faces tough questions about its treatment of workers today as United Workers Union members see no alternative but to go on strike this morning.
The plastic piping manufacturer, whose products are widely seen in Bunnings and other hardware retailers, has been called to account for burning through short-term casuals, creating a transient workforce and unsafe workplace.
Workers are also striking for at least 48 hours for pay parity with other Vinidex sites in NSW and Victoria where workers are paid up to $10 more an hour for doing the same job.
Vinidex is using labour-hire agencies to maintain a revolving door that creates an insecure workforce.
While the outsourced casual labour appears to be cheap, the real cost of a transient workforce is that much of the worksite lacks the skills and experience acquired over time to run a safe manufacturing plant.
At the end of their last agreement direct employees at the Coopers Plains site were encouraged by Vinidex to end their EBA and enter into individual salary contracts.
This deal left them worse off without a fairly-negotiated, guaranteed pay rise. Last year workers began collectively bargaining as a Union.
Vinidex is owned by international private business Aliaxis worth $3 billion. In 2020 Aliaxis made $460 million in profit.
Quotes attributable to UWU delegate Richard Matelau
“Workers at Coopers Plains are pumped to be taking action and we will keep fighting to win a safe workplace and a fair pay offer that brings us closer with other Vinidex workers.
“Why should our families keep struggling with basic living costs? We can’t afford these low wages anymore.
“Imagine being paid $10/hour less than a guy who does exactly the same job as you for the same company. It’s more than just money. It’s about dignity and respect.”
Quotes attributable to UWU spokesperson Isaac Avery
“Workers have been patiently negotiating with their employer since March 2020 when COVID first hit the country.
“Vinidex have continued to give them insultingly low pay offers which leave them well behind their colleagues in Victoria and New South Wales. Workers are now striking to ensure they are treated with the same dignity and respect as their southern counterparts.
“Workers at Coopers Plains are sick of the casual labour hire carousel, with new workers constantly cycling through, resulting in a site where workers’ health and safety are not a priority.
“With almost 30 per cent of the site being labour hire casuals, our members are keen to see job security improved to ensure that all workers at the site have a job they can count on, that pays the bills and one day possibly own their own home.”
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