September 9, 2005
Lock-out at Wgtn engineering plant
Thirty workers at Southward Engineering have been locked out and are picketing the plant.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that the workers were locked out of the plant in Seaview, Wellington, this morning.
The lock-out follows a similar action by the company last week.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that the company had since increased its pay offer to workers to 4.25 per cent, and had withdrawn claims for clawbacks that would have cut wages for shift workers, but workers had rejected the new offer.
“They are seeking a five per cent pay rise, which is entirely reasonable in the current climate,” he said.
“Statistics show that five per cent has been the average pay rise over recent months, and with petrol prices going through the roof, a decent pay rise is even more important than ever.”
Mr Little said that after rejecting the new offer, workers had put a load-out ban back in place, and welders were refusing to weld.
“It is these workers who have been locked out,” he said.
Southward Engineering 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. About 140 people work at the Wellington plant, with another 40 at a plant in Auckland.