ABOUT 150 workers are on strike at the Beresfield factory of mining machine manufacturer Bucyrus, part of the Caterpillar group of companies.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union organiser Daniel Wallace said his members had gone on strike in response to a company move to lock them out for 48 hours over tomorrow and Wednesday.
Mr Wallace said a new enterprise agreement was being negotiated through Fair Work Australia.
He said his members were pushing for a nine-day fortnight because Bucyrus could not pay the sort of money that was available for similar skills in the mines.
Bucyrus said it had met with employee representatives and participated in ‘‘good faith bargaining’’.
‘‘We are disappointed the union and its members have elected to take this step, as it is not in the best interests of our employees or customers,’’ Caterpillar human resources manager Chad Williams said today.
‘‘ Indeed, today’s stop work action is unlawful in our view because the required notification requirements in the Fair Work Act were not complied with. ‘‘
Mr Williams said the company had offered ‘‘a very competitive proposal’’ that remained on the table despite the industrial action.