MORE than 200 timber mill workers remain locked out of Carter Holt Harvey at Mytleford as industrial action entered its second week on Wednesday.
Workers gave notice of rolling stoppages and overtime bans from April 19 before the company responded with a lockout.
Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) assistant district secretary Andrew Vendramini said about 207 workers – including casual staff – were affected by the industrial action.
“The guys got paid on Monday their wages for last week; some got two days’ pay or three,” he said.
“But now the company is trying to starve them out – let them go a couple of months without wages.
“There has been no production at all on site.”
Mr Vendramini said the company denied the workers’ request for a meeting on Thursday before it proposed a meeting on Friday.
He said delegates of the workers’ three unions – CFMEU, Electrical Trades Union of Australia (ETU) and Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) – would meet company representatives on site on Friday at 11am.
He said he was not confident of a breakthrough on the enterprise bargaining agreement stalemate.
“There has been no movement over the past 12 months,” he said.
Mr Vendramini said the industrial action would continue indefinitely.
He said workers wanted a 3 per cent pay rise annually, one week’s annual leave in the Christmas period and better access to income protection insurance.
“The workers are very strong people; they’ve been dealt a harsh blow,” Mr Vendramini said.
“We’ve had 40 workers here easily every day set up out the front of the company on the grass. It got very soggy yesterday.”
Workers have been banned from speaking to the media about the dispute or risk their jobs.
Carter Holt Harvey declined to comment to The Border Mail on Wednesday.
Australian Forest Industries established the mill in 1975 and Carter Holt Harvey bought it in 1995.
The mill has made plywood since 1981.
A $50 million upgrade of the Myrtleford site about six years ago made it Australia’s largest plywood mill.