Over fifty Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) members held a lunchtime protest to stop Sensis undermining their union agreement (the Advertising and Design Agreement), by rolling it into a larger non-union one (the Enterprise Agreement 2).
Starting in the lunch room, union members marched through the open plan office picking up people as they went. Then there were some short speeches before we marched with placards around the Sensis building on Lonsdale Street in Melbourne. We chanted “Not happy Jan, our say, not Sensis plan” and “Our agreement, our say—let Sensis scrap it, no way!”
It was a first time protest for many. It has increased members confidence, thanks to the number of participants and their enthusiasm. It has sent a signal to Sensis that AMWU members are prepared to fight for their say.
One of the Community Public Sector Union (CPSU) delegates on the non-union agreement was at the protest to support AMWU members. The CSPU has some members on the non-union agreement and they want to turn it into a union agreement.
Sensis recently made 80 workers on the non-union agreement redundant. Sensis print revenue has declined and earnings before interest and tax fell by 14.7 per cent, from $1.02 billion last year. But at $871 million this year, Sensis is still hugely profitable, so it is an outrageous decision. Job security will be an important issue in the fight.
The AMWU has focused on the possibility of winning a scope order in FairWork Australia, but the decision to hold a protest and mobilise members has turned up the heat. Members have shown they are prepared to knock some sense into Sensis and will do so again if Sensis persists in trying to undermine the union agreement.
By a Sensis worker