Historic win for Bell Bay

Tuesday 22nd January 2013 0:00

Workers at the Rio Tinto (Pacific Aluminium) Bell Bay smelter in Tasmania will be able to collectively bargain for pay and conditions, after historic proceedings in the Fair Work Commission.

AWU National Secretary Paul Howes today said workers had not been able to collectively bargain at the Bell Bay site since 1994.

“This is a great win for local workers, who now have the opportunity to work together to improve their pay and conditions at the Bell Bay smelter.

“Workers at Bell Bay know that they are stronger together, and by joining the AWU they can have a greater say in how their workplace operates.

“When individuals try to negotiate a better deal out of big global companies like Rio Tinto, which owns Pacific Aluminium, they simply don’t stand a chance.

“But by joining forces workers can make their voices heard, and push for changes to make their working lives better.”

Negotiations to start

Paul Howes said discussions around a new collective agreement for workers at Bell Bay would commence within weeks.

“Now that the company has agreed to negotiate we will be able to start the process for a new enterprise agreement at Bell Bay.

“The Union will be consulting with members to draw up a log of claims, and we will then present to the claim to the company.

“One of most important priorities will be to lock in workers’ existing pay and conditions place in the event that Rio Tinto sells Pacific Aluminium to another company.”