August 15, 2005
Industrial action at Atlas plants
A major engineering company faces industrial action as workers reject attempts to force them to change shifts.
One hundred and eighty members of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union at Atlas (formerly Southward Engineering) have voted overwhelmingly to reject a company proposal that would give it the right to unilaterally force day-shift workers to work nights, and vice versa.
The workers are also seeking a five per cent pay rise. The company has offered what it says is a 4.25 per cent rise, but is effectively a four per cent rise because of clawbacks on allowances.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said that the workers at the Auckland plant had already staged a short strike, a load-out ban was in place at the Wellington site, and more action was likely.
“What this company is proposing is archaic,” he said.
“Forcing people who usually work nights to change to days, and vice versa, will have a serious impact on their lives, especially those with family commitments. If the company needs to change shift compositions, it should sit down with its workers and work something out.”