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Australian Paper’s Maryvale mill workers have accepted an agreement involving a wage freeze and four-day week in a deal set to save the company millions.
Some 160 maintenance workers stationed at the Maryvale plant in Victoria’s south-east had been negotiating for over a year before reaching the workplace agreement which Aus Paper says allows them to keep working under a decent wage.
Australian Paper had been working with unions in order to find an appropriate way to cut $3m from its maintenance budget, in a bid to salvage its unhealthy balance sheet.
General manager for human resources at Australian Paper, Mark Nelson says staff at the Maryvale mill voted in favour of preserving operations at the mill in order to maintain job security and a positive future.
“It’s a great signal that employees from Maryvale want the mill to continue to operate and on the basis that its future looks better than what it had been in the past,” says Nelson.
Nelson also says the wage cuts will save the company $3m, and attributes a four-year profit-loss streak and fierce competition from the Asian market for the need to tighten budget.
The Maryvale mill has suffered several blows to its operations in the past, including a bushfire which damaged the plant in 2014 and a chemical spill in June last year.
The $90m recycled paper plant started production in early 2015, and diverts up to 80,000 tonnes of wastepaper from Australian landfill per year.
Australian Paper, owned by parent company Nippon Paper, has 1295 employees across Australia, and exports to over 75 countries.