Amcor workers on strike in Melbourne

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Amcor Flexibles in Melbourne’s northern suburb of Preston have targeted five workers for forced redundancies. Two of the five are shop stewards and all are members of the AMWU.

The workers at the plant have been on strike since Tuesday August 1 and face possible fines under Howard’s new IR laws. The picket was made ‘illegal’ on Friday and since then the community has been maintaining the blockade.

The company attempted to introduce a round of redundancies at their Preston site last week where workers were subjected to a humiliating ‘skills testing’ process.

The AMWU were willing to negotiate around a process of voluntary redundancies and attempted to have outstanding matters resolved in the commission. However Amcor insisted on ‘picking heads’ and targeted some of the most skilful workers for redundancies. Coinsidently some of these workers were shop stewards or activists on the site.

The demand of the picket is to reinstate the five workers who want to stay on at the plant and for Amcor to negoitate with the union to sort out a process of voluntary redundancies. Amcor have also tried to use Howard’s new IR laws to force change that undermines union strength on the job. Amcor’s wider agenda is to set a precedent of getting rid of people they don’t want. They will then seek to do that at other Amcor sites.

Amcor are attempting to use the full weight of Howard’s draconian IR law to bludgeon the workers back to work. Workers have been threaten with fines. Bravely the workers have decided not to be intimidated and the community is backing their stand.

Readers are asked to visit the picket at 29 Bell St Preston (between Chifley Drive and Albert St).

By Socialist Party reporters