Quarry workers walk off the job

Thirty three quarry operators have walked off the job for 24 hours after a dispute over pay.

Workers at Hanson Quarry, Bass Point on the NSW south coast, walked off the job at 6am this morning.

Australian Workers Union official Branko Gorgievski said a dispute over the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) had led to the protected industrial action.

Gorgievski would not rule out further action if Hanson would not agree to ‘‘more constructive negotiations,” the Illawarra Mercury reported.

‘‘Employees just want the same conditions as the last EBA – which gave them a four per cent increase in salary per year over the three years of the agreement.

‘‘They know the economic climate is tough so all they’re asking for is what they’ve already got – however the company will not go above 3.5 per cent (a year over three years).’’

A Fair Work Australia hearing in January failed to resolve the pay dispute,

Gorgievski said workers’ had been locked out by Hanson after taking action previously, and could face the same when returning to work on Tuesday morning.

Hanson said the company believed the new agreement was ‘‘fair and reasonable’’ and would continue negotiations.

‘‘Hanson pays well above the award rate and is one of the leaders in pay rates for quarrying,’’ the spokesman said.

‘‘Given the current economic climate it believes an increase of 3.5 per cent is reflective of market conditions.’’

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