The MSF Sugar Maryborough Mill
The MSF Sugar Maryborough Mill Maggie Zemek

SWEET WIN: M'boro workers fight off proposed pay cut

AN 18-MONTH long industrial dispute between Maryborough's MSF Sugar and its workers has finally been resolved.

Acting Australian Workers' Union Central District Secretary Tony Beers described the outcome as a win for the union's members, who he said had fought back against a "desperate measure to terminate their Agreement and cut their pay and conditions".

The statement from the union said MSF Sugar had moved to cut sugar workers' pay by as much as $20,000 a year.

"In a fight lasting over 18 months, AWU members have had success by standing shoulder to shoulder against MSF Sugar's plans to cut wages and conditions," Mr Beers said.

"While it's disappointing that the company let it get to this stage and dragged it out for this long, our members have still managed to achieve a great outcome.

"Terminating the Agreement would have been a devastating outcome for the MSF workforce who faced the potential of huge cuts to their pay and conditions if it went through."

Mr Beers said instead of a wage cut, workers could now expect a 6.5 per cent wage increase and better work-life balance conditions.

Tony Beers said the union's members had not only secured fair wages, but also secure jobs.

"MSF Sugar had threatened to bring in contract labour-hire workers to replace the seasonal workforce, which would have meant a loss of secure jobs for Maryborough locals.

"This would have been a bad outcome for the workers and their families, and the broader community."

Trevor Crook, general manager of agriculture at MSF Sugar, said he did not want to comment on the claims made by the AWU.

"We are really happy we've been able to reach an agreement with our workforce," he said.

"We believe the outcome is fair for all parties.

"We're looking froward to working through the challenging times in the sugar industry together."

Mr Crook said the industrial action involved 10 workers and the 6.5 per cent wage increase was part of a three year agreement.

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