By Patrick Avenell

Electrolux Australia has hit back at claims made by the Australian Workers Union (AWU) that the manufacturer is actively trying to de-unionise its plant in Orange, in central New South Wales.

The AWU yesterday posted quotes on its website from greater NSW branch secretary Russ Collison, with the unionist claiming Electrolux had been denying workplace meetings and reducing staff levels.

“The company [Electrolux] is actively working to de-unionise the site, has not allowed a workplace union meeting for more than five years  and is cutting back the number of workers directly employed by the company, favouring lower-paid non-union labour hire workers,” he said, according to the site.

Mark O’Kane, the manager of the Electrolux plant at Orange, hit back this morning, telling that he rejected the Collison’s claims.

“Plant management at Orange haven't been contacted at all by the AWU about these concerns and refutes the claims in the article,” he said.

O’Kane said he was surprised by the allegations, saying that last month the majority of employees at the plant voted in favour of a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) which was subsequently approved by Fair Work Australia.

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When asked if Electrolux expects or predicts any union activity that could interfere with or halt production, O’Kane said there was no need for retailers to be concerned about supply.

“As far as Electrolux is concerned, it's business as usual with the new EBA in place,” O’Kane said. “Despite this, plant management maintains an open door policy as far as any employee grievance is concerned.”

Additional reporting by Claire Reilly