December 13, 2005
Walk-out at Avalon
Good Morning off the air as staff strike
Staff at TVNZ’s Avalon Studio have walked off the job, taking the Good Morning programme off the air.
Some 60 members of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and the Public Service Association walked out at 9am today in a dispute over pay and conditions.
They are angry that the state-owned broadcaster, which has repeatedly told the public and Parliament that it is in a strong financial position, is telling them that it can’t afford to give them a decent pay rise and deal with the health and safety issues arising out of their hours of work.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said that the amount in dollar terms between the 5 per cent pay rise the workers wanted and the 3.6 per cent they had been offered was small.
“We’re talking about a $45,000 difference,” he said. “That’s all it would cost to settle this agreement with an organisation that has just announced a $57.3 million profit.”
PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said the workers at Avalon were highly specialised and the structure of the industry meant they were required to work for long times without a break.
“TVNZ must recognise and value the skills and dedication of their staff. They are the people who make the programmes happen. They deserve to be paid properly and accorded decent working terms and conditions.”
Mr Little said that the people who worked at Avalon were among the best in the world, but were not on the huge salaries of some high profile television employees.
These people earn, on average, about $50,000 a year, he said.
“All they want is to be treated fairly.”
Avalon has the best studio in Australasia, and produces programmes like Good Morning, Big Wednesday, Dancing with the Stars, and Lotto.
Mediation last Friday failed to settle the dispute. They are expected to return to work at 10am.