May 1, 2006
Metals workers seek 7% pay rise
The country’s largest union is claiming a seven per cent pay rise for workers covered by the influential Metals agreement.
Some 500 of the more than 2000 workers covered by the Metals and Manufacturing Industries collective agreement met in Auckland today to endorse the pay claim.
Negotiations for the Metals agreement – widely recognised as setting the going pay rates and conditions in the manufacturing sector – are due to start next week.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little told the stop-work meeting at Ericsson Stadium that last year’s settlement in the Metals agreement had paved the way for thousands of New Zealand workers to win a five per cent pay rise through the Fair Share – Five in ’05 campaign.
“Last year you were prepared to do the hard yakka to get a pay rise that meant you were doing more than just treading water,” he said.
“This year, we’re going to do the same.”
Mr Little said that while growth in the economy had slowed since last year, economic conditions were still strong.
“Life is still good in New Zealand if you are in business or you are an employer,” he said.
“Growth is still just over 2.5 per cent and is expected to rise to 3.5 per cent next year, company profitability is still high, and executive pay rates rose by an average seven per cent last year – 23 per cent for chief executives of top companies.
“On top of that, inflation is at 3.3 per cent and working people are facing rising bills for petrol and housing. They are not going to settle for something that doesn’t lift their real wages.”
Negotiations to renew the current Metals agreement will begin in Auckland next Tuesday. Key claims are:
- A seven per cent pay rise.
- A minimum pay rate of $12 an hour.
- The abolition of youth pay rates.
Employers, represented by the Employers’ and Manufacturers’ Association, are expected to seek the removal of long service leave.
The current agreement expires on June 7. Stop-work meetings will be held in Christchurch tomorrow (Tuesday) and in Wellington on Wednesday.