Cropping

Grain pay in dispute

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August 13, 2017

About 130 Victorian grain handlers are threatening to strike after GrainCorp refused to increase its wage offer.

About 130 Victorian grain handlers are threatening to strike after GrainCorp refused to increase its wage offer.

Workers wanted a better offer from the company after agreeing to below-inflation wages two years ago to support the employer, Australian Workers Union Victorian secretary Liam O’Brien said.

‘‘We were expecting a decent offer after GrainCorp announced record profits earlier this year —profit that our members worked themselves to the bones to achieve,’’ Mr O’Brien said.

Instead, Mr O’Brien said the 130 permanent staff were offered wages that barely cover the cost of living.

GrainCorp also employs about 800 seasonal workers.

The staff voted to hold work stoppages, stagger lunch breaks and ban overtime unless GrainCorp changed its position.

A GrainCorp spokesman said the company was ‘‘disappointed’’ with the outcome but negotiations are continuing.

‘‘Our main priority is to ensure there is minimal impact to our growers and customers from any action that may be taken.’’

Union officials will meet with GrainCorp management on Wednesday for further negotiations before any industrial action is confirmed.

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