Defence workers in four-hour stoppage

National Union of Workers (NUW) members who work for defence contractor Thales at the Defence Establishment Denman will be part of national-protected industrial action today.

There is a ban on loading and unloading of trucks and overtime bans at 17 depots across the country, followed by a four-hour stoppage this morning.

The NUW has committed to working with Thales during this time to ensure there will be no adverse effect for the Australian Defence Force members who are currently engaged in active service abroad.

Thales is a French multinational that has a contract with the Australian Defence Force to store, distribute and maintain explosive ordnance at 17 facilities across the nation, including the one located at Rosemount Road, Denman.

The members work in storing, unloading, transporting and distributing explosive ordnance.

These workers’ Enterprise Agreement expired last July and the NUW has been negotiating with Thales since December for a new deal.

So far Thales has not put forward a fair offer.

Explosive ordnance workers are among the lowest paid Thales employees in Australia, NUW industrial officer Alex Snowball said.

“These workers are paid less than Thales employees performing similar work in Benalla/Mulwala in Victoria and for maritime services in Sydney,” he said.

“Thales’ explosive ordnance workers are seeking a fair Agreement that will take a step towards pay equality with other workers doing similar work and provide fair compensation for the risky work they do with dangerous goods.”

The workers have asked the company for an eight per cent increase up front (15 per cent is required for pay equality) but have not been offered any up front pay increase.