Bionic ear manufacturer Cochlear should immediately begin bargaining with unions following a clear vote by employees in favour of a union collective agreement.
More than 310 workers at Cochlear’s Lane Cove plant in the northern suburbs of Sydney have voted by a 59% majority in favour of an enterprise agreement with the company.
ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said this was the sixth time Cochlear workers had voted for a union collective agreement and is another major rebuff of the company’s hardline industrial relations position.
He said the workers had exercised their rights, and the company should now set aside its ideological stance and sit down with unions to negotiate a new collective agreement.
“The vote at Cochlear is an important step towards restoring workplace rights that were taken away by the Howard Government’s WorkChoices,” Mr Lawrence said.
“For almost two years, the company has ignored the workers’ expressed desire to be represented by their union.
“The Cochlear workers have repeatedly said they want to be represented by their union in negotiations over a new deal covering their pay and conditions.
“The majority vote in favour of a collective agreement came despite a veiled threat by Cochlear management to sack its workers and move production overseas if they voted for a  union agreement.
“After their sixth failure, it’s time Cochlear management faced up to the reality that their workers want to be represented by their union and returned to the negotiating table.”
Mr Lawrence said the ACTU was ready and willing to assist negotiations for a union collective agreement at Cochlear.
“We hope to work together with management to ensure Cochlear continues to be a world-leading, viable and productive company with highly-skilled, good jobs for Australian workers,” Mr Lawrence said.