Industrial action at Alcoa sites ends after two months

Image: www.alcoa.com

Alcoa has reached an agreement with the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) following a strike that took place at the miner’s operations in Western Australia.

Around 1500 Alcoa workers went on strike on August 10 in protest of the aluminium-focused company’s proposed Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA), which raised concerns regarding job security for the employees.

The strike was originally expected to last for a week but eventually stretched out to 53 days due to protracted negotiations.

Alcoa’s attempts to create a new EBA for its Western Australian activities did not start and end with the strike; it held over over 50 meetings in 18 months with the AWU regarding the details of the agreement.

On September 7, nearly one month into the strike, Alcoa released a statement welcoming an alternative proposal from the AWU.

Alcoa has now revised its EBA to include commitments stating that it will not make employees forcibly redundant through outsourcing or replacement with casual employees. Employees will receive further details before taking a vote on the revised EBA in mid-October.

“Now we have addressed job security, we encourage the AWU to endorse the EBA,” said Alcoa chairman and managing director Michael Parker.

“We thank our dedicated teams who have kept our Western Australian operations running safely and productively during this difficult time and now look forward to welcoming all employees back to work.”

The AWU’s response to the outcome has been unanimously positive.

“All along we made it clear that we were not seeking to improve or extend existing pay and conditions. We just wanted security to keep doing our jobs without having to constantly look over our shoulders,” AWU WA branch president and site delegate Andy Hacking said.

AWU national secretary Daniel Walton also commented, calling it one of the largest strikes Australia has ever seen.

“Collective strength is powerful and it’s about more than just directly-affected workers,” he said.

“This is a victory for the entire Australian trade union movement and for all who got behind these workers.”