'Left with very few options': Electrolux industrial action a possibility

ELECTROLUX workers are moving closer to industrial action after employees rejected the company’s latest enterprise bargaining agreement deal. 

The company offered workers an 11 per cent increase in pay over three years but the offer was rejected 289 to 174 on Thursday. 

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), the Electrical Trade Union and the Australian Workers Union had lobbied for a 12 per cent increase - five per cent in the first two years and two per cent in the third.

Employees are negotiating the last enterprise bargaining agreement before the plant shuts in 2016 and more than 500 people are made redundant.

AMWU secretary Tim Ayres said the unions had sought improvements to the separation package to ensure workers had the best opportunity to transition to new employment after the company deserts the region in coming months.

“Getting a decent outcome in bargaining will not reverse the devastation caused by the company’s decision to close,” Mr Ayres said.

“But allowing workers to leave the factory with some dignity will give the region the best opportunity to get back on its feet.

“With the company stonewalling any reasonable requests for improvements, workers are being left with very few options.”

Mr Ayres said employers would not rule out industrial action if Electrolux did not meet their demands.

Electrolux spokesperson Craig McCarthy said the company hoped an agreement would be made before any such action. 

“Progress is being made and in time we’ll reach an agreement,” he said.

Negotiations for a new collective agreement have been occurring since November last year.

In the last vote three weeks ago, Electrolux’s offer of a 10.5 per cent increase was rejected 411-46.

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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