Members resolve to continue with strike action
For immediate release 19th February 2008
ASTE Members resolve to continue with further sustained strike action
ASTE members who work for EastBay REAP (rural education activities programmes) based in Whakatāne with bases in Ōpotiki and Kawerau) have resolved to take further unprecedented sustained strike action in protest at their employer’s failure to make any significant shift in their bargaining stance, ASTE advocate, Jenny Chapman, says.
“Members went on strike last year for two and half days in an attempt to get a shift in their employer’s position”, Ms Chapman said, “and we took part in mediated negotiations prior to Christmas.
We have made significant concessions in good faith to try and resolve this dispute. At some risk, given the attitude we have met to date, we have adopted the offer that was made in the mediation forum. These steps have result in minimal movement from the employer.
Members have resolved to take strike action from Wednesday.
“Eastbay REAP has huge cash reserves of around $1.6 million accumulated in the bank. Let’s not forget that this money is public money which has been provided through Government Departments for the delivery of quality education and community development in the Eastbay region” said Jenny Chapman. “In ASTE’s view that means the REAP has a responsibility to both deliver to the community and act as a good employer to its employees. Many of the staff employed by Eastbay REAP are on very low wages. These are the very same staff whom Eastbay REAP seeks to exclude from access to decent employment conditions that others doing the same work have.”
It further riles members that the CEO for some twenty years has enjoyed the terms and conditions she now denies some of her staff.
ASTE has been trying for nearly two years to renegotiate a collective agreement for members at Eastbay. Initially this was through the REAP Multi-employer process. This Multi-collective had reached a settlement that was then not ratified by the employer parties. Despite considerable time spent trying to resolve the issues, the union was forced to move to site bargaining. ASTE has settled collective employments agreements with four other REAPs around the country last year on the basis of the terms and conditions that have been rejected for a significant group of members at Eastbay.