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Solidarity does make a difference at Caterpillar

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18 July, 2012AMWU members at Caterpillar mining machinery plant in New South Wales have achieved an important victory in their struggle for a nine-day fortnight and pay increases for all workers.

The dispute over a new enterprise agreement that arose at Caterpillar (formerly Bucyrus) mining machinery plant in Beresfield, New South Wales, is settled. At the end of June Caterpillar had locked out about 150 workers, members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU), in response to a strike action that the company claimed was illegal.  During the negotiations, management tried to impose an agreement that would have denied pay increases to casual workers but the union bargaining representatives stood fast for an outcome that would be a win for all workers, including precarious workers.  Thanks to the union determination an in-principle agreement was finally reached on the following terms:

  • A new two year agreement;
  • Annual pay increases of 5% in the first year and 4% in the second for all workers, backdated to 1 April this year;
  • No concessions from the previous agreement;
  • The resumption of overtime.

The agreement was overwhelmingly endorsed by the union members.  The solidarity messages that IndustriALL Global Union affiliates across the world sent to the AMWU members made a difference stated Andrew Dettmer, AMWU’s Acting National President. “These messages have been reported to our members at every opportunity and this helped significantly to maintain solidarity in the face of the company’s tactics to break our union.  The great determination of our local officials and our members turned things around, with the support of your messages.  Together we have taken another small step towards the higher levels of solidarity that can make a better future for all Caterpillar workers”. 

IndustriALL Global Union congratulates the AMWU on this important victory.