Unions delay decision, but 'industrial action is likely' for Electrolux workers

UNIONS will not make a decision on industrial action at Electrolux for another week at least, until the company confirms its position on pay rises.

Australian Workers Union western region organiser Alan Haynes said the company cancelled meetings scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday while it waited for its head office to decide whether to amend its offer on a three-year enterprise bargaining agreement.

Earlier in the week, he said industrial action could become possible if the meeting was cancelled on Thursday, but it was now a case of “hurry up and wait”.

“We’ve got to give it every opportunity to succeed or fail,” he said.

Mr Haynes anticipated another meeting would be scheduled sometime in the coming week.

“Unless the company sees reason and puts forward a reasonable offer as opposed to their current offer, industrial action is likely,” he said.

Last week, representatives from the AWU, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, Electrical Trade Union and the National Union of Workers gave Electrolux a week to adjust its offer on pay rises after hours-long discussions between the parties failed to yield a result. 

So far, the Swedish-owned company has not moved from a 10.5 per cent pay increase for its 551 workers across the next three years, or 3.5 per cent a year.

Workers previously voted 411-46 against the offer.

“It’s about as big a no as you can get,” Mr Haynes said.

The unions have been lobbying for a 12 per cent increase - 5 per cent in the first two years and 2 per cent in the third.

Only the first two years of the EBA will apply due to the refrigeration plant’s closure in 2016.

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