Strike action from steelworkers over superannuation cuts

Published 01 Feb 2019

Steelworkers in Port Kembla are to resume strike action over the removal of superannuation back pay, with 500 workers voting against the company’s latest offer.

In a proposal made prior to Christmas, the company proposed a 9 per cent pay increase over a three year period, as well as a profit share plan. A last-minute clause added to the proposal announced the removal of superannuation back pay. This is the latest superannuation dispute to impact the company, as they had previously not paid their employees superannuation contributions for overtime and holiday pay, with a Federal Court decision currently being appealed.

Why are the employees striking?

The employees subsequently rejected this proposal and are to resume strike action. The steelworkers had been striking for four hours per 12-hour shift over the last six months, but have increased their industrial action to 12-hour strikes in shifts of up to 24 hours in light of the new clause.

In 2015, employees of the company were left dismayed after wages were cut during the steel crisis. The general understanding of the pay slash for the employees was that after the company had made it through the financial uncertainty, the workers would be compensated or rewarded for the sacrifices made during that period. Despite the financial crisis, the company had increased net profits to around $1.5 billion. This poured salt in the wound for a lot of struggling employees who had not yet been rewarded, and has made the latest offer from the company seem unacceptable in the eyes of the majority of workers.

While working in the best interests of the disgruntled employees, the secretary of the Australian Workers Union said the goal was to strike a reasonable and fair deal for all parties, rather than escalate the conflict.

Why should I hire superannuation lawyers?

Early access to superannuation funds is extremely important especially in a worst case scenario of death or injury, so when employers are unfairly providing super for their workers it undoubtedly creates extra stress. You are allowed to claim insurance through your super fund for a variety of reasons – however, if these claims get rejected, a superannuation disputes lawyer can help you weigh up the strength of your case and the appropriate way to proceed with the claim.

At Gerard Malouf & Partners Superannuation Lawyers we are well versed in the language employers use to avoid paying fair super to their workers. We are equipped with the knowledge and legal expertise to fight for your case, and offer a 90 day complimentary trial of superannuation services.

If your employer is avoiding paying your superannuation, get in touch with our team.

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