IBM union talks back on

Striking staff in IBM’s Baulkham Hills “Flightdeck” facility may reconsider after new negotiations announced.

Industrial action by employees at IBM’s Baulkham Hills “Flightdeck” facility was postponed after the company agreed to another attempt to negotiate a settlement with workers.

The proposed industrial action, which was to commence this Friday, included four-hour rolling stoppages and the possibility of escalating to an indefinite strike.

Workers are represented by the Australian Services Union (ASU), which has pressured IBM for employee collective agreements, including equitable pay rises, redundancy packages, penalty rates and leave entitlements.

ASU branch secretary Sally McManus said staff will go ahead with the strike on Friday, however, if an agreement is not reached in negotiations scheduled for today.

IBM customers, including Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand and Westpac, along with government agencies Medicare and Customs, will be affected by the strikes, which could ground planes and disable banking systems, McManus said.

“IBM agreed to meet us tomorrow morning [Thursday] which is good news — we are still asking for what we initially set out for,” McManus told Computerworld.

“Members are prepared to lift the planned industrial action on Friday if our agreements are met.”

The Baulkham Hills facility — known as “Flightdeck” because the many rows of computers resemble an aircraft flight deck — maintains critical applications and smooth service operations for some of IBM’s biggest customers.

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