Hastings to go back to the bargaining table

IT LOOKS like Hastings Deering and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union will be heading back to the table to negotiate details of an enterprise bargaining agreement.

Workers across Queensland voted down a deal that would see their wages and conditions slashed.

An AMWU spokesperson told The Bulletin workers had considered the Hastings deal not suitable.

In Central Queensland, including Mackay, there are close to 1000 jobs; the AMWU spokesperson said wage cuts would have affected between 400-500 of those jobs.

"We will be putting out our offer which would be to change nothing and to keep things as they are," the AMWU spokesperson said.

But Hastings Deering's managing director Dean Mehmet said the company remained confident its EBA was the best possible solution for minimising the need for further job cuts.

He said the AMWU continued to muddy the waters with claims wages would be cut by 25%.

Mr Mehmet said there was always back and forth with EBA negotiations, but the company had worked considerably to provide industry-leading terms and conditions.

"There is not a one-size-fits-all figure as the union claims. The fact is, our mining services operations have slowed significantly because of the resources sector downturn," Mr Mehmet said.

"Competition is fierce and we have had to respond accordingly."

Mr Mehmet said Hastings Deering's EBA acknowledged the need to remain competitive and sustainable to continue to retain experienced employees during a challenging economy.

"Many of our customers have asked us to re-tender for contracts and with more aggressive competition in the marketplace than ever before, a competitive operation is the only way to safeguard jobs." Hastings Deering has yet to reveal how workers voted.


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