Workers described as “pimple on a pumpkin” return to work
BNT (Brakes and Transmission), the Australian-owned car parts supplier, is struggling to get products to the market after workers at its Auckland distribution centre walked off the job for the fifth time on Friday.
The fifth strike, ending today, comes a month after the company’s chief executive described ongoing strike action at the company as just a “pimple on a pumpkin.” But an internal memo sent to staff with the New Zealand CEO cc’d reveals that BNT is hiring additional staff and requiring “everyone to do at least 5 hours of overtime in the week” to help clear the product backlog the strikes are creating.
“Our members just want to get the job done, but that’s becoming harder and harder as their wages and conditions fall further and further behind their colleagues at other distribution centres in Auckland,” said the workers’ representative, FIRST Union organiser Emir Hodzic.
“They’re taking strike action as a last resort. All they’re after is a wage they can support their families on. The cost of housing is through the roof, the cost of electricity is rising, even school fees are going up. But while everything else goes up their wages remain the same.”
“BNT have been dragging negotiations out for months now. They’re one of the poorest-paying employers in the industry and our members are left with no choice but to take action,” said Hodzic.