More than 50 West Footscray workers who walked off the job on Monday are joining Friday’s global climate strike in a push for more clean energy jobs.
Fenner Dunlop workers downed tools this week over frustration at what they claim is an unwillingness by management to raise their basic wage without stripping hard-fought conditions around working hours and overtime requirements.
The workers have maintained a picket outside the Geelong Road factory since Monday morning, warning they are willing to stay on strike until management yields on its hardline approach.
National Union of Workers organiser Angus Middleton said about 50 workers – the entire factory floor workforce – are taking protected industrial action for “decent wages and conditions”.
“We’ve completely shut down production here. Workers shouldn’t have to work forced overtime and 60 hour weeks just to earn a living wage,” he said.
“Fenner Dunlop is owned by the Michelin Group, so they’ve got the money to provide decent jobs to the people doing all the work.
“We are organised, united and won’t back down until we win job security and a decent wage.”
The workers have also thrown their support behind Friday’s historic global climate strike and the national climate change rallies being held in cities around Australia.
The NUW has joined the Australian Education Union in backing the rallies, including a 2pm action in Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens.
Fenner Dunlop is a major producer of conveyer belts for the mining industry, particularly for coal operations.
Mr Middleton said the workers want the company to prove it is taking steps towards a viable transition to sustainable industries for the good of the environment and to protect jobs.
Fenner Dunlop did not respond to requests for comment.