CHH workers want bosses to honour promise to talk
Striking workers from the Carter Holt Harvey laminated veneer lumber plant in Whangarei say that they’ll be ready to resume negotiations on Tuesday, and are urging their bosses to be there too.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that workers were concerned by suggestions from the company over the weekend that its representatives would turn up only if the strike was called off.
“On Friday, the company gave us a letter saying that it was ready to resume negotiations immediately,” Mr Little said.
“But now it appears to be going back on its word by saying that the strike must be called off before it will return to the negotiating table.
“We have said all along that we want to continue negotiating, and our negotiators will be at the plant on Tuesday morning ready to start talking. We hope that the company’s representatives will be there too.”
Some 200 workers from the Marsden Pt plant have been on strike for more than two weeks in protest at the failure to settle their collective employment agreement. On Friday, a hikoi of 100 workers arrived at the Carter Holt Harvey head office in Auckland to tell senior managers of their concerns.
“They refused to speak with the workers, but gave union officials a letter confirming their desire to return to negotiations immediately,” Mr Little said. “We hope that they will be true to their word.”
The workers are seeking a five per cent pay rise and meal and shift allowances. They have been offered a three per cent rise.
The dispute is part of the nationwide five-plus campaign at CHH sites, involving members of the EPMU, the National Distribution Union and the Amalgamated Workers’ Union.
Meeanwhile, Mr Little will meet CHH chief executive Peter Springford tomorrow at Mr Springford’s invitation.