July 18, 2006
Work stoppages worth it, says union secretary
New Zealand workers are fighting for higher wages – and sometimes that means industrial action, says the union that launched the Fair Share – Five in ’05 campaign.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that today’s announcement that the 66 work stoppages in the year to March was the highest for a March year since 1997 should not surprise anyone.
“Everyone knows that New Zealand wages are too low, and we’re doing something about it,” he said.
“If sometimes that means workers have to take industrial action, then so be it.”
Mr Little said that the campaign was paying off, with 28,500 EPMU members winning wage rises of five per cent or more since the campaign was launched in February last year, and the benefits were spreading to thousands of other New Zealand workers.
“Five, not three per cent, is now the going rate,” he said.
“That extra two per cent equates to an extra week’s pay a year, and workers know that when they decide to take industrial action.”