Workers step up industrial action against US multinational O-I Glass
Danny O. 23 August 2019
Ever drank beer from a stubbie? Poured a glass of wine? How about made vegemite on toast? Well if you’ve ever done any of these things in Australia, then you’ve probably handled a glass container made by workers employed by US-owned multinational glass maker O-I Glass.
For over 4 months, about 100 maintenance workers at O-I Glass plants in Melbourne and Brisbane have been taking protected industrial action to secure their conditions in a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. Workers have been taking a variety of actions to push their claim including rolling stoppages, overtime bans, and a rally out the front of O-I’s Australian headquarters. Workers in Melbourne are now holding a series of 4-hour stoppages and public rallies over the next month to help build wider union and community support for their dispute.
The workers, members of the ETU and the AMWU, have been met with nothing but contempt from management. Management are refusing to bargain fairly after workers overwhelmingly voted down a substandard proposal from the company, and have been bringing in scabs through dodgy labour hire companies to try and complete work. According to the ETU, at the Melbourne plant scab electricians were being brought in from sub-contractors as far away as South Australia!
But all of that is par for the course for a multinational like O-I. According to reports, the company had revenues of over $2.6 billion in Australia between 2013-2017 and didn’t pay a single cent in tax during the same time. Again, it’s hardly a surprise. It’s typical practice of so many of the foreign multinationals and handful of local big businesses that dominate and control Australia’s economy.
And O-I certainly dominates its sector of Australia’s economy. Not only is it the largest glass container manufacturer in the world, the US multinational has a 90% share of the glass container market in Australia. That means just about every glass container used in Australia is made by workers at O-I Glass.
Australian workers making everyday products used by the Australian people, but the profits go to a tax avoiding American multinational – talk about a rort!
O-I Glass should have plenty to fear.
We need to fight for a country run by and for the working people of Australia – not the thieving multinationals! We need to fight for an Independent Australia and Socialism!