Fifty-two Defence support workers walked off the job on Friday at Bandiana to protest a 2 per cent pay rise offer they called inadequate.
Dressed in red union shirts, the Linfox employees gathered outside Wadsworth Barracks in the rain for a brief meeting and then drove away slowly in convoy, tooting horns and displaying flags.
Their activities formed part of a day of action organised by the National Union of Workers across 10 Linfox Defence sites in Victoria, NSW, Tasmania, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia.
The union said it was protesting the company’s wage increase offer of 2 per cent in the first year, with an average of 2.15 per cent each year over four years.
Union organiser Mark Schmidt said the Linfox offer was “below par”.
“It’s not an increase that helps our members keep up with the cost of living and the guys have had enough of it,” he said.
Mr Schmidt said the employees supported the Defence Force through warehouse and logistics tasks.
“When Defence needs their stocktakes done, when Defence need things sent between sites to be ready for whatever, these are the guys who do it,” he said.
“They do important jobs that need to be done right, they’ve got a high skill set and they’re feeling that they’re not recognised for it.”
The Bandiana members voted to continue their industrial action.
“We’ll be looking to obviously ramp things up in the coming weeks to the point where Linfox come back to the table and put a reasonable offer on the table,” Mr Schmidt said.
A Linfox Logistics spokeswoman said the company had been negotiating an enterprise bargaining agreement for workers employed as part of Linfox warehousing operations for the Defence distribution centres.
“Linfox has been in negotiation with the NUW since December last year and has negotiated in good faith,” she said.
“We respect the NUW and its members.
“The decision to take protected industrial action is unfortunate, however, we believe that we have made a fair offer.
“Linfox will ensure that the Department of Defence continues to be effectively served until negotiations with the NUW are completed.”