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800% increase in days lost to industrial action

Media statement Monday, August 8th, 2005

800% increase in workdays lost from industrial action


Over 9,196 workdays were lost due to industrial action just in the second quarter of 2005 alone, says David Lowe, Employment Services Manager for EMA (Northern).

"We estimate staff lost in excess of $1.5 million in wages in the June quarter," Mr Lowe said.

"The increase in work days lost has rocketed by 800% compared to the same time last year when 1,148 lost work days were recorded.

"We estimate a further 2000 days may have been lost from industrial action that we are aware of, but without sufficient details to include.

"The figures are all based on media statements from the unions (see below) - Statistics New Zealand is not due to release the official figures for the June quarter until 18 October 2005.

"The unions' five per cent 'one-size fits all' wage demand and the push back to national awards were the main causes of the huge number of stoppages. Businesses which did not agree were forced to close during the industrial action.

"The only thing that has changed since the same quarter last year is the new labour law giving unions increased powers.

"Stopping work is how they choose to use their new power; we appear headed back to the dark old days of national awards and strikes."

ENDS


Technical notes

Work stoppages are only included if they meet the Statistics NZ criteria, that the dispute that caused them has been settled.

Work stoppages two months apart are recorded separately, also as per Statistics NZ practice.

Work stoppages concluded from 1 April 2005 to 30 June 2005

APRIL

April 5 - 130 days lost

Colgate Palmolive strike ends. Based on 65 employees picketing for 2 days. (EPMU press

release 5 April 2005)

April 14 - 614 days lost

Half day strike at Auckland University. Based on 1229 employees striking for 0.5 days. (AUS

membership figures from AUS v Vice-Chancellor of University of Auckland, AC 19/05, and AUS

press release [Although connected with the later strikes in July, this counts as a separate

industrial action under Statistics NZ guidelines because the stoppages occurred over two months

apart]

April 15- 2000 days lost

EPMU members covered by the defunct metals' collective agreement took a one day strike after

rejecting employers' negotiating team's offer of 4.2%. (EPMU press release 15 April 2005)

April 4 - 60 days lost

Morgan furniture strike ends. Based on 60 employees striking for one day. (EPMU press release

4 April 2005)

April 21 - 40 days lost

Middlemore security guards picketed in carpark twice. Based on 20 employees picketing for 2

days. (Unity #5[Socialist Workers' Organisation] and SFWU press release 21 April 2005)

April total - 2844 days lost

Other stoppages reported but not included in figures- Coal miners 700 employees struck for 2

days on April 21 (EPMU); Cleaners at Palmerston North Hospital picketed twice on April 5 and 18

(SFWU);

MAY

May 19 - 65 days lost

Qualcare Trust nurses strike. Based on 140 nurses striking for 3 hours. (NZNO press releases 5

and 19 May 2005)

May 5 - 1142 days lost

WDHB settles with PSA over clerical and admin staff. Based on 400 employees striking 4 days

(two 24 hour strikes), assuming that each employee was only striking for 5/7ths of that time

(assuming a 40 hour week). (PSA press releases 5 May, 21 April 2005)

May 11 -4285 days lost

Stagecoach strikes end. Based on 1000 employees striking for 6 days, assuming that each

employee was only striking 5/7ths of that time (assuming a 40 hour working week). (Auckland

Regional Transport Authority Press Release 10 May 2005)

May 17 - 500 days lost

Bridgestone tyre factory dispute settles. Based on 25 employees striking for 28 days, assuming

that each employee was only striking 5/7ths of that time (assuming a 40 hour working week).

(EPMU press release 17 May 2005)

May 23 - 360 days lost Sleepyhead factory strike ends. Based on 180 employees striking for 2

days. (EPMU press release 23 May)

May total - 6352 days lost

Other stoppages reported but not included in figures - Hamilton Perry 25 employees strike for 2
days (EPMU); Robinhood 75 employees strike for 7 days (EPMU).

June - no stoppages included in figures

Other stoppages reported but not included in figures - Finsec rolling strikes end. These comprised 7,000 employees taking action over 35 days. Coalminers 8 employees suspended for 1 day (EPMU); Telstraclear 50 employees strike on June 20 (EPMU); Laundry workers at Capital and Coast strike on 23 June (Clothing, Laundry and Allied Workers).

ENDS

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