May 3, 2002
Workers at a West Coast laundry have walked off the job today after their Remuera-based bosses refused to give them a decent pay rise.
Alsco is now threatening to shut the Greymouth laundry altogether and to send the work to Christchurch.
Half the 12 workers at Westland Laundry earn just $8 an hour – the legal adult minimum. They want another 40 cents an hour.
Their colleagues, who have worked for the company for more than 12 years and are on the higher rate of $10 an hour, want a pay rise of 50 cents an hour.
Their union negotiator, EPMU organiser Chris Moore, said that the workers had voluntarily forgone pay rises twice in the past three years to help the company out.
“They’ve done their bit,” he said. “They deserve what is really a very modest pay rise.”
The laundry services local hotels. During the summer it is busy, but from May until October the workers are guaranteed just 12 hours’ work a week.
“If the company goes ahead with its threat to make them all redundant and send the work to Christchurch, I sincerely hope that the local clients will take their business elsewhere,” Mr Moore said.
The strikers are not expected to return to work until Tuesday. They are seeking a five per cent pay rise for a six-month agreement. The company wants an 18-month agreement.