Australia has stopped printing money for the first time in 107 years.
And the bad news for some travellers is the facility for printing money, in Craigieburn, Victoria, also prints passports.
Note Printing Australia (NPA) handles all of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s note and passport printing needs, but it is closed today as workers go on strike over wage demands.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has been negotiating for the past six months for better than the 2% pay rise offered to them by NPA.
AMWU regional secretary Tony Piccolo said the union is also seeking a better deal on domestic violence leave, an updated classification system and full-time jobs for long-standing casual workers. Piccolo said some casual workers had been on site for up to eight years.
“The members don’t take this sort of strike lightly but management haven’t been listening to their claims,” he said.
The vast majority of staff at the plant are AMWU members and Piccolo confirmed there is no machinery operating there for at least 24 hours which started at 6am today.
He said the strike action came after union officials met with the company last week and put down its “bottom line”, and invited the board to further negotiations.
“The board responded that they are not particularly interested in coming to the negotiations and gave us an ultimatum that if you want a wage increase you’ve got to sell off some of your hard-fought conditions that have been won over the last 107 years,” he said.
“We took that to members today at the stop work and they resoundingly rejected that.”
Piccolo said it was ludicrous that the workers’ ultimate employer, the RBA, was advocating a 3.5% pay rise needed across Australia to kickstart the economy yet was offering just 2% to its own workers.
He said even through the release of several new banknotes, staff “had hit record production every milestone, on time, and still aren’t deemed worthy of any substantial pay rise”.
“We’re still hopeful the company will come to the table with a better offer.”
“I guess it’s just a shot across the bow to show the company we’re serious and we’re hopeful they’ll get the message and come to the table.
“They (NPA staff) also produce Australia’s passports which is something we haven’t really talked too much about, but we’ll come to next week if the (NPA) doesn’t change its position.”
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