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Agriculture Farming Rural, Employment Relations

Wilmar Uses Intimidation Tactics Against Striking Workers

AWU 3 mins read

Wilmar has issued notice that the workers who participate in tomorrow’s industrial action will be locked out of the mills indefinitely without pay. 

AWU Northern District Secretary Jim Wilson said that this is a disgraceful attempt to prevent workers from standing up for themselves and their communities, but their efforts will ultimately be unsuccessful.

“This is a multinational corporation trying to bully and intimidate North Queenslanders to stop us asking for our fair share.”

“These are intimidation tactics of the highest order.”

“Workers won’t take this lying down, and growers won’t accept Wilmar further delaying the crush by locking skilled workers out of their workplaces,” Mr Wilson said.

“Crushing workers’ wages and entitlements at Wilmar has clearly become the personal crusade of some people in management.”

“If this continues, they will never be able to show their face in our communities again.”

Wilmar is putting their latest bad deal out to ballot next week and workers are expected to vote it down.

“Workers will continue to take action, we will vote down the newest bad agreement and Wilmar will be back to square one,” Mr Wilson said.

“These are the actions of a company that is running out of ways to avoid paying its fair share - it's time for Wilmar to come back to the table and end this farce.”

Tully mill workers have also been hit with a lockout notice today. This is especially egregious as workers at these mills have not been performing strike action, only bans on certain tasks.

AWU Far Northern District Secretary Dave Hearse said that the lockout notice is heavy handed, bullying conduct by the mill.

“Workers have been performing work bans to further our campaign for a fair pay rise.”

“Workers just want to see some of the profits that the Chinese multinational corporation has made so they can continue to put food on their families’ tables.”

“Tully has chosen to use intimidation tactics on our members instead of coming to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer”.

Mr Hearse said that this shows why we are fighting in the first place.

“Our region is tired of being ripped off by multinational corporations trying to make a quick buck off our labour.”

“This is a fight for Far North Queensland, and we aren't stopping.”

Protected action will continue until workers get a better deal.


Media Contact Wilmar: Jim Wilson (0419 765 952)

Media Contact Tully: Emily Searle (0421 160 866)


General information

During the lockout period, the employees affected will be prevented from performing work under their contracts of employment and will not receive compensation.

Wilmar have indicated that they will be locking out any workers that perform action which means that Wilmar is saying that if a worker takes a 1-hour strike then they will be not able to return to work. 

This will clearly affect the crush season and the workers ability to perform their roles.

Tully Mill Industrial Action

Tully Mill Industrial action: Workers at Tully mill have been performing bans on heavy-duty equipment involving high-risk tickets, the use of keys (including locks for doors, vehicles, personal isolation locks and electronic swipe keys) and using computers to document work.

Workers at Tully mill have been performing the majority of their assigned work and all this will do is prevent the mill from being ready for the crush. Workers at Tully want to work, and the company is saying they cannot.

Our Coverage

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.

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