Peter Khalil: I rise to speak again about the struggle of the hardworking maintenance workers at Esso in Victoria employed by contractor UGL. UGL workers at Esso Gippsland have now been on the picket line for over a hundred days. They’re standing up to corporate greed and fighting back against unfair conditions. UGL wants to scrap the workers’ EBA and has asked them to accept worse conditions and pay cuts of up to 40 per cent. Many of the 200 workers have been with the company for over a decade, and it’s thanks to their hard work and their incredible safety record that UGL has won countless contracts. These workers have dedicated themselves to their work, but UGL won’t even give them a decent wage in return. Every day on the picket line is another day without pay, and it only gets harder for these workers and their families.
I’m astonished that in all this time there has been no change, that UGL has refused to treat these workers in the way they should be treated, in the way they deserve. I’m not astonished, however, at the resilience, commitment and integrity of these workers, who are sticking to their guns and insisting on justice. This fight is one of the most important industrial disputes of our time. These members are standing together against one of the richest companies in the world and demanding a fair EBA. All they want is to get their jobs back with fair pay and fair conditions. We know that, if Esso and UGL are allowed to get away with treating their employees this way, other workplaces will follow. I congratulate the workers at UGL on their efforts and back them all the way. We’ll be with them as they continue to fight the good fight.