A meeting of well over 1500 steelworkers this morning put an end to a bitter industrial dispute between unions and BlueScope Steel.
Meeting at The Fraternity Club at Fairy Meadow, the workers voted by a wide majority to accept in principle the agreement negotiated between the unions and BlueScope.
The union lawyers will go over the agreement and then workers have seven days to consider the agreement before meeting again to formally accept or reject it.
By a fairly narrow margin, the workers also agreed to end a planned 24-hour stoppage for the meeting and return to work at 11.30am today.
Australian Workers Union branch secretary Wayne Phillips said the company had ‘‘backed off on their attack on sick leave, an issue which was crucial for our guys’’.
Mr Phillips said the pay offer of eight per cent over three years wasn’t the best but they would be looking to get the company to agree to CPI increases, whichever is greater.
However, he said the result was a win for the workers, given the rough times the steel industry is in.
‘‘We have maintained nearly everything that we have, in what are tough times,’’ Mr Phillips told the meeting.
‘‘Under the circumstances we think we’ve done pretty well to maintain what we’ve got.’’