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Agriculture Farming Rural, Employment Relations

Tully Mill Workers Prepare to Take Industrial Action

AWU 2 mins read

In a resounding blow to Tully Sugar, AWU members at the Mill have conclusively voted in favour of taking industrial action to further their campaign for a fair pay rise.

100% of AWU members who participated in the ballot voted in favour of the industrial action, which includes strikes for up to 48 hours at a time.

Because this ballot was successful, union members will now have the option to take legally protected strike action at the sugar mill.

AWU Queensland Branch Secretary Stacey Schinnerl said that this is a warning sign to Tully that their workers are not going to back down until they get a fair deal.

“Our members are tired of waiting – Tully’s current offer is unacceptable and workers are drawing a line in the sand,” Ms Schinnerl said.

“This vote shows that we are serious about a fair pay rise.”

This successful ballot means that Tully can anticipate being hit with industrial action during the crush season this year, which is the period where sugar cane is transported to mills to be crushed into sugar.

It will also mean that workers can take industrial action during the pre-crushing season steam trials, which are integral to preparing the Mill for its peak earning season.

Ms Schinnerl said that workers are frustrated with the progress of negotiations.

“Workers in Far North Queensland aren’t going to be shortchanged by a Chinese multinational corporation,” Ms Schinnerl said.

“Industrial action was not our preferred way of resolving this dispute, but we are ready and willing to do so if Tully doesn’t come back to the bargaining table with an offer that reflects our members’ worth to the company.”

News of this successful ballot emerged just two weeks after another multinational sugar company operating out of North Queensland, Wilmar Sugar, saw a protected action ballot being returned with similarly damning results.

Since then, hundreds of Wilmar workers have gone on strike, significantly disrupting the multinational corporation’s operations.

Ms Schinnerl said that this is the future that awaits Tully if they continue down this path.

“Sugar communities know that these corporations are making record profits. They know that Tully can give its workers the pay rise they deserve.”

Other potential industrial action includes bans on performing overtime, call outs, and use of keys and computer equipment.


MEDIA CONTACT: Emily Searle (0421 160 866 |


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The Australian Workers’ Union is one of Queensland’s oldest and largest blue collar trade unions.

The AWU represents workers in the sugar industry and has hundreds of members who work for sugar mills across Queensland.


What Action Can Workers Take:

The industrial action that workers have voted for includes strike action of 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours and 48 hours.

It also includes (but is not limited to) work bans on performing overtime, call outs, and use of keys and computers.

Each individual action is voted for or against by the workers.

Every question on the protected action ballot was answered yes by 100% of AWU members who responded to the ballot.

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