October 7, 2005
CHH agrees to return to talks
Hokoi reaches company head office
Negotiations in the Carter Holt Harvey laminated veneer plant dispute could resume as early as Monday.
A hikoi of about 100 striking workers from the Whangarei plant has just arrived outside the Carter Holt Harvey head office in Manukau, Auckland, where they were met by the news that the company has agreed to return to the negotiating table.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that the workers were delighted by the news.
“This morning the company has confirmed to us, in writing, that it will return to the negotiations,” he said.
“It is a pity that it has taken so much time and energy to get the company to agree to resume talks, and we look forward to progress being made.”
About 200 workers from the plant, at Marsden Pt, have been on strike for two weeks. Mr Little paid tribute to the patience and solidarity shown by the workers on the hikoi and the 100 back on the picket line.
“These workers understand that in order to make any gains they need to stick together,” he said.
“They are showing great determination and dignity, and are an inspiration to all working people.”
The workers are seeking a five per cent pay rise and shift and meal allowances. They have been offered a three per cent rise.
The dispute is part of a nationwide five-plus campaign at Carter Holt Harvey plants, involving the EPMU, the National Distribution Union and the Amalgamated Workers’ Union.
Mr Little said that the workers on the hikoi had been overwhelmed by the support they had received on their way south from Whangarei to Auckland. The group stayed overnight at the Orakei marae.