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AWU secures industry-leading EA in future Battery Manufacturing facility

August 24, 2022

The news is all positive for battery maker Recharge Industries, with the AWU negotiating an enterprise agreement securing workers’ rights and conditions at a soon-to-be constructed, large-scale production facility in Geelong, Victoria.

The EA has been structured to ensure national coverage and flexibility for future Recharge Industries plants around Australia.

Recharge Industries said that by making batteries better, safer and longer-lasting, it would power the transition to a low emissions future by creating advanced battery-cell manufacturing capabilities in Australia.

Recharge also said the EA was a display of confidence in the facility being delivered as planned, setting the conditions to mutually benefit more than 1000 employees.

The greenfields agreement comes after three months of negotiations and provides union members employed at the facility with a world-class incentive scheme, and ensures operators, trades people, and apprentices are equally recognised and supported.

The EA also offers substantial pay and conditions for the sector, including:

  • Rates of pay that will have operators earning over $100,000 per year.
  • A clause ensuring any employee who is in the Australian Defence Force reserves will get a $2500 bonus each year.
  • Every employee will get Geelong Football Club membership – and if the Cats win a Grand Final, every employee will get a $1000 bonus.
  • Workers in any subsequent state in which Recharge Industries batteries are will get to vote on a local sports team to follow in a similar arrangement.
  • A generous retention bonus
  • Strong delegates clause
  • Increased Superannuation

AWU Victoria Branch Secretary Ben Davis commended the work of lead organiser Ronnie Hayden.

“Ronnie negotiated a strong EA that will set the tone for workers in this sector,” Mr Davis said. “This is a great outcome for Geelong workers.

“This facility will provide skilled jobs with good wages and conditions long into the future.

“And this agreement makes it clear that the AWU is the union for workers in the battery-manufacturing sector.”

AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said the EA was a “great vote of confidence” for the future of the battery manufacturing industry in Australia.

“Australia is in prime position to be a renewable-energy superpower,” Mr Walton said.

“It has some of the largest supplies of any nation of minerals such as lithium, cobalt and manganese – critical to producing batteries.

“But right now, Australia is shipping thousands of tonnes of these minerals each year to China and other countries, only for them to sell them back to us in manufactured products.

“Facilities such as the plant in Geelong will ensure Australians will benefit from every stage in the supply chain, from mining to manufacturing.”


Recharge Industries said the EA also provided certainty to investors and other stakeholders on important project costs, and laid down key talent-attraction and retention policies in what was now a competitive, high-growth industry.

It said it could now complete financial modelling around wages and incentives, begin the post construction job-hunting process, and ensure employees have time to become AWU members, protected under the EA.

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