March 17, 2004
Workers Reject Metals Offer
Hundreds of workers at a stopwork meeting in Auckland today rejected an employer offer of a 2.7 per cent wage increase in the key Metals agreement.
Late last week “original party” employers in the Metals and Manufacturing Industries Collective Agreement upped the pay offer from 2.5 per cent to 2.7 per cent, but failed to make any movement on other claims. Workers are seeking at 3.5 per cent pay rise.
Today’s meeting in Auckland was the first in a series of stopwork meetings around the country over the collapse of negotiations in the Metals, which covers more than 2500 workers at 220 companies directly, and thousands more indirectly.
The more than 600 workers at the meeting said that they would be making direct appeals to their own employers to improve the offer. If there was no settlement, they would hold another mass stopwork meeting in Auckland on Friday, April 2.
Union national secretary Andrew Little said that with workers facing a cost-of-living rise of more than three per cent, a 2.7 per cent pay rise wasn’t good enough.
The employers had also rejected every other claim put up by the union, including ensuring that workers are involved in workplace health and safety planning and scrapping the requirement for a medical certificate to cover one day’s sick leave.
Another mass meeting will be held in Whangarei and Hamilton tomorrow, and a fourth in Christchurch on Friday. Meetings are being held site by site in other regions.