September 5, 2005
Auckland workers join strike at Southward
Workers at Southward Engineering’s Auckland plant have joined a strike by their Wellington colleagues.
One hundred and forty workers at the Seaview plant walked off the job this morning after the company issued lock-out notices to 13 workers.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that about 20 workers at the Auckland plant had met this afternoon and decided to join the strike in protest at the company’s heavy-handed actions.
Both sites are involved in a dispute with the company over the renewal of their collective employment agreement. They are seeking a five per cent pay rise. The company has offered a 4.2 per cent rise, but wants to cut shift workers’ pay by $2 an hour.
Mr Little said that the workers who were locked out had been involved in a load-out ban at the Seaview plant.
“They were refusing to load trucks as part of low-level industrial action at the plant, but were performing all other work,” he said.
The company was founded by Len Southward (owner of the Southward car museum) in 1938 and was bought by the Australian-based Atlas Group in 2004. It is New Zealand’s largest manufacturer of automotive exhaust systems.