May 13, 2005
Some progress in mines dispute
Miners are considering a new offer from their employers.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said today that some progress had been made in talks with the six companies yesterday.
More than 700 workers from opencast and underground mines in the North and South Islands have taken industrial action over recent weeks in protest over their employers' refusal to settle a national agreement.
Many miners saw their wages and conditions stripped away during the anti-union 1990s, and want employers to make a commitment to working towards pay parity between mines.
They are also seeking a six-per-cent pay rise in line with their union's Fair Share campaign for a minimum five per cent pay increase for all working people.
The mines involved are the Huntly East underground mine and the Rotowaro opencast mine in the North Island, the Stockton opencast mine and Spring Creek underground mine on the West Coast, and the Ohai opencast mine in Southland. All are owned by state-owned Solid Energy, but contractors operate on most sites.
Workers at the Terrace underground mine near Reefton cannot come into the national agreement until their current agreement expires.
Mr Little said that talks would resume with the employers in Christchurch next Wednesday.