Pay talks resume: Unions suspend strikes at Australia’s biggest sugar producer

Canberra: Unions have temporarily suspended industrial action at mills operated by Australia’s largest sugar producer as negotiations over worker pay resume, according to statements from the company and a union official. Strikes over the past month have delayed and disrupted operations at mills run by Wilmar Sugar and Renewables on Australia’s northeast coast.

During a meeting on Thursday, Wilmar informed union delegates of its willingness to improve its pay offer. In response, the unions agreed to pause their industrial action, a company spokesperson said. “We’ve suspended industrial action for the time being,” said Australian Workers’ Union official Jim Wilson, adding that strikes could resume if no progress is made.

Wilmar is currently starting up its eight mills for the cane crushing season, during which they will operate 24 hours a day until the rainy season begins around November. Strikes during this season are significantly more disruptive than during the preceding preparation and maintenance period.

Wilmar opened its first mill on Monday, only to close it again on Wednesday for most of the day when workers staged a one-hour walkout. Earlier this week, workers voted to reject a company pay offer.


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