May 4, 2005
Five per cent now the going rate
New Zealand’s largest private-sector industrial agreement, the Metals and Manufacturing Industries Collective Agreement, has been settled.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little announced this afternoon that 73 employers had signed into the agreement, which would now be offered to other employers.
The settlement includes a five per cent pay rise. The new document is effective from the expiry of the old agreement on March 7, and will run for 15 months.
“This is a victory for the hundreds of workers who stood together through a two-month dispute to win a fair pay rise,” Mr Little said.
“Most of the workers who took industrial action in support of this agreement have never done anything like it before. Their stand sends a message to workers across the country that they can have real influence in the workforce if they are prepared to work together.”
The Metals multi-employer collective agreement is recognised as setting the going conditions across the manufacturing sector, and the collapse of talks to renew the agreement in February sparked the launch of the union’s Fair Share – Five in ’05 campaign for a minimum five per cent pay rise for all working people.
Mr Little also announced today the settlement of 23 other agreements at five per cent or more, and six agreements below five per cent.
“We have settled some agreements below five per cent where there is a very good argument to do so,” he said. “For example, we agreed to a 3.1 per cent increase at a plant which had just had the roof torn off by a tornedo, and there are usually improvements in other conditions associated with the settlement.
“But they are the exception. We now have 96 companies that have agreed to five per cent pay rises, and more are coming in every day. There is now no question that five per cent is the benchmark figure for pay rises in 2005.”
Update on other disputes:
Solid Energy and contractors – negotiations resume next week for a national coal miners’ agreement.
Bridgestone Tyres, Christchurch – trades workers into their fourth week of strike.
Colgate Palmolive, Petone – negotiations resumed today.
Sleepyhead, Auckland, – one-day strike on Friday.
New Zealand Refining Company, Whangarei – overtime ban.