FRUSTRATED Tomago Aluminum workers are preparing for industrial action including indefinite strikes after rejecting two pay offers from smelter management.
Australian Workers Union organiser Tony Callinan said he was hopeful that a new enterprise agreement could be settled without industrial action but he said the workforce had voted to consider industrial action after “many years of co-operative industrial relations”.
The result of the ballot, published this week by the Fair Work Commission, showed the workers had voted 303 to 99 in favour of industrial action ranging from work bans to indefinite strikes.
Mr Callinan said the existing enterprise agreement expired last month. He said workers were likely to hold a mass meeting on Thursday to decide their next step.
Tomago Aluminum declined to comment.
Mr Callinan declined to say what sort of pay rises the union was pushing for, or to say what Tomago Aluminium had offered in the two proposals rejected by the workforce.
The AWU is the biggest union at Tomago Aluminium.
Mr Callinan said staff and tradespeople belonging to the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union were employed under different agreements and were not involved in the industrial campaign.
Tomago Aluminium, the largest user of electricity in NSW, has been watching developments in the power market very closely.
In September the Newcastle Herald reported the smelter was preparing for the possibility of having to work with the market operator to manage its electricity usage during hot weather this summer.
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