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Alcoa Western Australian workers reject labour agreement, to extend strike

[MELBOURNE] Workers at Alcoa's alumina and bauxite operations in Western Australia have voted to reject a proposed workplace agreement and will continue industrial action, the Australian Workers Union (AWU) said on Friday.

Around 1,500 workers at three alumina refineries and two bauxite mines walked out on Aug 8 over a new workplace agreement that they say does not offer sufficient job security.

Alcoa, which has continued to run the operations, said in a statement it would monitor the situation and would welcome an alternative proposal from union workers.

Production of alumina, a white powder used to make aluminium, had been cut by about 15,000 tonnes since the industrial action began, it said. The operations normally produce about 9 million tonnes a year.

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Alumina is in tight supply after Brazillian regulators ordered the world's largest alumina refinery owned by Norsk Hydro to slash output by half in February over pollution concerns and the United States put sanctions on global aluminium maker Rusal

The AWU said 80 per cent of workers voted to reject the proposal.

"This decisive vote should provide Alcoa management with the impetus to come back to the table with job security assurances," AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said in a statement.

REUTERS