Workers at Blue Star Group’s four print shops are taking industrial action, with an overtime ban in place from just after midnight tonight.
The overtime ban will affect McCollams Print and Nicholson Print in Auckland as well as Format Print and Print Link in Wellington, which prints the Budget.
E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says the industrial action is a response to Blue Star’s unreasonable demands during bargaining to renew the collective agreement, which expired last year.
“The company wants to claw back terms and conditions related to shift arrangements,” says Joe.
“At the moment, they can change shifts if workers agree. But Blue Star wants to be able to do this as of right. They’ve told us if workers don’t agree to this they can apply for voluntary redundancy. In other words, take it or leave it, which is unacceptable,”.
“This would leave these workers with no control over their lives, their time with their kids and families and what they do on the weekend.”
Joe says members want to preserve their right to consultation “because they’ve built their lives around their working arrangements.”
Member are also unhappy over Blue Star’s demand that workers disclose if they have a secondary job.
“I asked what business that is of theirs and they cited health and safety. But what they really want is the right to reach into other people’s lives.
“Instead of addressing issues of fair pay, they’re trying to dictate what workers do outside their working hours at Blue Star.”
Joe says the fact is many workers must work two jobs because of the high cost of living, especially in cities like Auckland and Wellington.
“We’re seeing growing evidence of the haves and have-nots. People are trying to survive and it’s getting tougher and tougher. And companies are responding by trying to claw back more and more from their workers,” he says.
Joe says members are also angry over Blue Star’s refusal to agree to back-pay any pay rise to the expiry date of their collective agreement.