It’s back to work

RELIEF: Carter Holt Harvey non-union-aligned worker advocate Enzo D’Andrea – outside the Myrtleford RSL on Friday on day one of a two-day ballot – was not confident that a majority would take the company’s pay offer. But more than 61 per cent of employees voted for the deal after a 74-day lock-out. PHOTO: Jamie Kronborg

MYRTLEFORD’S Enzo D’Andrea has described a majority vote by Carter Holt Harvey employees to take the New Zealand-owned wood products company’s pay deal as common sense.

The reluctant advocate for about 60 non-union-aligned workers who had long pressed for acceptance of the CHH offer by 207 staff locked out of its Myrtleford mill for 74 days – a stand-off sliding into rancour and deepening community concern – said the declaration of the ballot early on Saturday afternoon had brought relief.

“I was ecstatic, as you would understand,” he told the Myrtleford Times on Monday night as he prepared to start his first paid shift at the mill in almost 11 weeks.

Employees voted 111-70 in favour of the company’s pitch for a three-year, two per cent annual pay deal first put by CHH last year and subsequently accepted by workers at five of its other operations on Australia’s eastern seaboard.

“For me it was basically relief but, by the same token, surreal,” Mr D’Andrea said.

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