Over 40 migrant workers are fighting to retain their current wages and conditions at New Wave Leathers in Melbourne’s western suburb of Laverton. The process workers, all members of the National Union of Workers (NUW), took protected action on December 14 after talks with management broke down.
New Wave Leathers bought the factory in April from Victorian Hide and Skin Producers and kept workers on the same wages and conditions. But when their enterprise bargaining agreement expired in May, the company sought to cut wages and allowances.
The company has tried to reduce workers’ meal allowances, remove rostered days off, take away bonus schemes worth up to $100 a week for some workers and begin new workers on a salary $100 a week lower than their colleagues.
Workers also have to work faster to get productivity pay. They have only three to four seconds to process a hide, compared to up to 12 seconds under the old management.
After spending Christmas and New year on the picket line the workers would greatly appreciate any support. The Socialist Party especially encourages people to visit the picket at Raymond Rd, North Laverton.