THIRTY-THREE quarry operators will return to work at Hanson Quarry, Bass Point, at 6am today after walking off the job for 24 hours.
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 last 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, with the last one expiring on December 31," he said. "Employees just want the same conditions as the last EBA, which gave them a 4 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].
"The workers have worked hard for their current conditions and they don't want to give them away."
Mr Gorgievski said while Hanson had told employees the company was "doing it tough", the workers had been doing their bit to ensure the quarry remained viable.
"These workers have been flexible and have even broken records in terms of output, so they believe they've done everything in their power to help out," he said, adding, "It is a very viable quarry."
Mr Gorgievski said the strike action was approved by Fair Work Australia.
He said the workers had been locked out by the company yesterday morning after taking the action, and could face a lockout upon return to work today.
A spokesman for Hanson said the company was still open to negotiations although it believed the new agreement it had outlined was "fair and reasonable".
"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."
The spokesman said during the industrial action Hanson employees not covered by the enterprise agreement were on site "to ensure that the impact to the supply of materials to customers is minimal".