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Wages, workdays lost to strikes rocketing

Media statement Monday, 20 February, 2006

Wages, workdays lost to strikes rocketing

The income value and number of work days lost due to union strike action is rocketing back towards the levels of the mid 1990’s, says David Lowe, Employment Services Manager for EMA (Northern).

“Last year to September staff lost $4.5 million in wages due to strikes,” Mr Lowe said.

“Between March and June 2005 they lost $1.3 million, and between June and September $2.4 million.

“The figures from the latest Statistics New Zealand release on work days lost due to strike action also showed the number of employees involved increased 435 per cent; the wages lost increased over 2000 per cent in the September 2005 year compared to the same period a year earlier.

“The upsurge in strikes started in March 2005, the same time that the unions’ wage campaign started. (see www.stats.govt.nz/datasets/work-income/work-stoppages.htm)

“The wage increases achieved by taking strike action are unlikely to be recouped.

“We hope 2006 will see a more responsible approach taken, for the sake of employees and the businesses paying their wages.

“Eighty percent of the workforce doesn’t belong to a union though the recent Labour Cost Index shows they enjoyed good wage increases too without the aggravation.”

ENDS

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