Workers Fight For Fair Treatment At Steel And Tube NZ
Workers at Steel and Tube sites across New Zealand are walking off the job today to protest the disrespectful way their employer has acted in recent bargaining.
“Workers at Steel and Tube are taking a stand for fair treatment and work and genuine bargaining,” says Steve Westoby, EPMU organiser at Steel and Tube in Auckland.
Steel and Tube have refused to sign a collective agreement unless workers agree to grandparent their current hours and days of work. This would mean the company could employ new workers on lesser terms and conditions.
“New workers will be required to work unsocial hours including weekends for a flat rate, undermining terms and conditions that union members have fought hard for.
“This disadvantages them, and in the long term drags down everyone’s conditions,” says Steve Westoby.
Steel and Tube have also offered an across-the-board pay rise to union and non-union workers.
“This is a distraction which seems designed to stop workers thinking about the long term impacts of weakening their employment conditions.
“Our members are not out for what they can get for themselves. They care about their colleagues and about ensuring that everyone is treated equally at work.”
EPMU members have agreed to enter mediation to resolve these issues. However, Steel and Tube have informed the EPMU that their diary is full until mid-March.
“This is not the attitude of a company that really wants to work things out,” says Steve Westoby. “Our members feel that they are not being taken seriously, and that’s why they have decided to start industrial action.”