CHH workers setting up strike funds
Carter Holt Harvey workers are now setting up strike funds as tension builds in their national wages campaign.
More than 200 workers from four CHH plants in Auckland have just voted overwhelmingly to support the campaign, saying that the company can afford to pay a decent rise.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary, Andrew Little, who was at the Auckland meeting, said that the company might be crying poor, but the facts told a different story.
“Why is one of the most successful and most canny businessmen in New Zealand – Graeme Hart – so keen to buy Carter Holt Harvey?” he said.
“It’s because he knows that CHH is a very strong company financially, with very low debt, a lot of cashflow and very good prospects.
“This is a company that can afford to pay more than three per cent. It can afford to pay five per cent, and it’s up to us to get them to do it.”
The meeting was told that one plant – CHH Paperbag Division, in Auckland – had won the first pay victory.
“The Paperbag dispute was settled yesterday, with a five per cent pay rise now and another 3.5 per cent in 15 months,” Mr Little said.
“That’s a huge increase on the 1.5 per cent originally offered, and well above three per cent being offered at other plants, and was achieved by these workers sticking together.”
Mr Little said that the CHH campaign would be long and hard, but was winnable.
Meanwhile, workers at the CHH LVL plant in Whangarei are on strike for seven days. They walked off the job this morning, saying they would not be back before next Friday.
Note: the CHH five-plus campaigns involves
the National Distribution Union (NDU) and the Amalgamated
Workers’ Union (AWUNZ) as well as the EPMU.