BOC Gas and Gear workers across Victoria took industrial action on 13 February against a potential wage cut for new employees. “We don’t want a rich and a poor at BOC”, Daniel, an NUW member told Red Flag.
Under the company’s plan for a two-tier workforce, new employees will be paid between 16 and 25 percent less than existing staff. According to the union, in some locations BOC is also replacing permanent positions with labour hire workers. There are fears that unless union members fight back now, decent full time jobs at BOC will be a thing of the past.
Daniel has worked at the BOC retail outlet in Preston for about 15 years. “This is the worst deal I’ve ever seen in my time”, he said. The action at his shop was one of more than 10 similar actions across the state.
In Wodonga, which has a larger workforce, union members reported that most customers refused to enter the shop while the workers were out the front.
BOC supplies compressed and bulk gases, chemicals and equipment throughout Australia. Production and retail workers are each currently bargaining for enterprise agreements. Further strikes are expected unless the company relents on its plans.