March 4, 2004
No settlements below 3.5%, says union
New Zealand’s largest union says that it will not settle any agreements with wage rises of less than 3 ½ per cent until the Metals agreement is settled.
Talks between the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and the Employers’ and Manufacturers’ Association in the key Metals and Manufacturing Industries Agreement broke down last Thursday.
Union national secretary Andrew Little said that members at the 43 “original parties” companies had resoundingly rejected a 2 1/2 per cent pay offer in a series of stopwork meetings this week, saying it did not reflect rising household costs and a labour shortage.
The union has now issued 14 days’ notice of major stopwork meetings around the country, involving its members from across the manufacturing sector, and says it will not settle any agreements whatsoever below 3 ½ per cent until the dispute is settled.
“The Metals is the leading employment agreement in the private sector,” Mr Little said.
“It sets the wages and conditions for 2500 workers directly and many thousands more indirectly. It is relevant to all private-sector workers, and we expect we will have their support.”