Australian Services Union (ASU) branch secretary Sally McManus said that this morning’s talks were a positive indication that IBM was prepared to come to the table and talk with its employees.
“The meeting with IBM management today was positive and negotiations will continue next week," she said.
There will be plenty for negotiators to talk about. Last week, 45 unionised members of IBM’s Flightdeck team (so named because the office’s rows of screens make it appear like a flight deck) voted unanimously to take industrial action, seeking better pay and conditions.
Negotiations between the ASU and IBM throughout the ballot process were ultimately unsuccessful. The strike was due to start at midnight Friday, starting with rolling four-hour blackouts.
The Flightdeck’s customers include Westpac, Qantas, Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand. The ASU said that the strike could have 'severe implications' for these companies, but IBM denied this, saying that businesses would not be affected.
If the strike went ahead, IBM planned to fill the jobs with 'scab' labour paid at a rate higher than the original engineers, the ASU told reporters.
But McManus said that next week’s negotiations will hopefully see a resolution.
"Workers at the Flightdeck have agreed to withdraw industrial action for now, to allow negotiations to continue in good faith," she said.
"ASU members are pleased with the progress and will meet next Thursday to consider an offer from IBM."
IBM strike on hold, for now
By Kathryn Small on Sep 4, 2008 4:10PM
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