Truckies and warehouse staff at Visy’s recycling plant in Queensland are taking industrial action of a different kind after management refused demands for a 3 per cent pay rise this week.
Jared Abbott, the director of organising for the Transport Workers’ Union Queensland, said drivers and warehouse staff had voted for a fun action that shows they also mean business, reports The Guardian.
He said they will wear hi-vis pink clothing and when communicating with bosses will only respond with “Nanu Nanu”, the Orkan greeting from hit TV 1978-82 comedy series Mork & Mindy.
“It’s really just a fun way for us to have a strike,” said Abbott, who added that a traditional 24-hour strike is still on the cards.
“I’m not entirely sure what was the catalyst [for choosing “Nanu Nanu”], but the group thought it was a good idea, and that’s the way democracies work.”
Although the TWU is happy to take the unconventional approach, Abbott reiterated that workers are deadly serious about their aims.
“They want the company to know they are serious and we’re willing to give them an opportunity to do the right thing. Otherwise, we’ll have to escalate.”
The union has already rejected the 1.5 per cent rise offered and made the application to the Fair Work Commission to take industrial action this week.
The workers want a 3 per cent bump in line with growing inflation.
Abbott said the company had made a profit during the pandemic, so it was only fair workers got a real wage rise. “They’ve failed to put forward any reasonable increase for these guys.”
“They’re offering 2 per cent while the inflation rate is at 5 per cent and in Brisbane, it’s 6 per cent. They’re making good money,” he said.
Visy was contacted by Guardian Australia but did not respond.
Late last month Visy announced it would invest $700 million on a massive expansion of its Queensland recycling and remanufacturing operations.
The spend is part of Visy executive chairman Anthony Pratt’s 2021 pledge to invest $2 billion in Australian recycling and clean energy infrastructure over the ensuing decade, creating thousands of new green collar, well-paying Australian manufacturing jobs.
Under the plan, the company will invest $500 million to build a new glass food and beverage container recycling and manufacturing facility in Yatala; a new $150 million corrugated box factory at Hemmant; and invest $48 million in major upgrades to the company’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF) on Gibson Island.
“This is the largest investment Visy has ever made in Queensland,” said Pratt.