July 17, 2002
Workers Will Fight For Holiday - Union
Labour will face a political and industrial campaign by the country’s largest union if it doesn’t give all workers a fourth week’s annual leave.
Delegates at the EPMU’s biennial conference, meeting in Rotorua, reacted with disappointment to the news that Labour’s Steve Maharey had today told an employers’ conference that his party would not bring in a fourth week’s leave in its next term.
“Ironically, at the very time Steve Maharey was talking to the employers, Labour Minister Margaret Wilson was speaking to us and would not rule it out,” said union national secretary Andrew Little.
The union has long promoted a fourth week’s annual leave for all workers as a way of helping to compensate workers for the social disruption of the past 18 years. It has succeeded in getting the Labour Party to adopt it as policy, but has yet to get Labour politicians to say when it will be introduced.
Mr Little said that workers had been patient during Labour’s first term in government because they understood the pressures it was under.
“New Zealand workers get fewer holidays than do workers in most other developed countries,” he said.
“They are working longer hours than ever and need more time to rest and recuperate. If Labour fails to deliver on this important policy, it can expect a sustained industrial and political campaign from us and other workers.”
The EPMU has 55,000 members in the engineering, forestry, printing, media, postal, telecommunications, manufacturing, plastics, packaging, automotive, metals, boatbuilding and food production industries.