April 11, 2002
Locked-out workers at Christchurch’s largest manufacturing plant will today starting to apply for emergency relief.
Some 250 workers at Generalcable in Riccarton have been locked out after rejecting a two per cent pay offer.
Company managers are refusing to talk to workers.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little, who has been on the picket line today, said that the workers were preparing to dig in for a long fight.
“These people have families to care for and mortgages and rent to pay,” he said.
“Because they’ve been locked out by their employer, they are entitled to apply for emergency relief from Work and Income immediately.”
The union – the largest in the country – would be organising collections for help to support the Generalcable workers, he said.
Mr Little described the picket as peaceful and the workers in good heart.
“Obviously, they would like to get back to work, but not at any price,” he said.
“The company has said the only way they will be allowed back is if they accept the pay offer. We would like to discuss the issue, but the company won’t talk to us.”
The workers are seeking four per cent, in line with the rise paid to workers at the country’s only other cable making company, Olex in New Plymouth.