A move by Australia’s largest industrial testing company, ALS, to amend the long-term wages and conditions of its technicians through use of non-union contractors, has been met with opposition from AMWU members.
More than 30 technicians from three worksites in Victoria have entered their third week of protected industrial action, as they seek to block the plan from ALS management.
Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) TSA Organiser Dave Vroland said the members at ALS Industrial were prepared to strike for as long as necessary until their concerns were addressed.
“ALS has recently purchased Austpower which they are now running as a separate corporate entity," said Vroland.
“Austpower don’t have a collective agreement, they never have. Their workers are employed on vastly inferior pay and conditions to our members. We’re seeking a clause in the new collective agreement that guarantees ALS can’t employee any contractors under terms and conditions less favorable than the ALS agreement."
ALS acquired Newcastle (NSW) based Austpower Engineering in October last year. Austpower provides technical expertise in the fields of plant inspection and engineering, metallurgy and non-destructive testing.
He urged ALS members across Australia, and other testing technicians to support the striking members. “We think members in ALS, right across the board, regardless of which agreement they’re covered by should have a strong interest in the outcomes here.
“That also includes NDTs (Non-Destructive Testing) at other workplaces. This is the benchmark agreement. What happens here will be watched very closely by other companies around the country.”
Despite the loss of wages, AMWU delegate Bill Bate, said the determination of the technicians (based in North Melbourne, Morwell and Sale) was growing every day.
ALS is one of the largest technical services groups in the world, employing over 9,000 staff at 300 locations in 50 countries.
[Image courtesy AMWU.]