Thirty-three quarry operators walked off the job for 24 hours at Hanson Quarry, Bass Point, at 6am this morning.
Australian Workers Union official Branko Gorgievski said a breakdown in negotiations over the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) had led to the protected industrial action, which follows a four-hour stoppage on Friday.
Mr Gorgievski would not rule out further industrial action if Hanson management would not sit back down for ‘‘more constructive negotiations’’.
‘‘We have been in talks since late last year for the new EBA which should have come into effect on January 1 this year,’’ he said.
‘‘Employees just want the same conditions as the last EBA - which gave them a four per cent increase in salary per year over the three years of the agreement.
‘‘They know the economic climate is tough so all they’re asking for is what they’ve already got - however the company will not go above 3.5 per cent (a year over three years).’’
Mr Gorgievski said the workers were taking protected industrial action, after a Fair Work Australia hearing in January.
He said the workers had been locked out by the company after taking the action, and could face a lock-out upon return to work 6am tomorrow.
However a spokesman for Hanson said the company believed the new agreement was ‘‘fair and reasonable’’ and would continue negotiations.
‘‘Hanson pays well above the award rate and is one of the leaders in pay rates for quarrying,’’ the spokesman said.
‘‘ Given the current economic climate it believes an increase of 3.5 per cent is reflective of market conditions.’’