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Locked-Out Workers Apply For Benefit

Locked-out workers at GeneralCable in Christchurch are this afternoon meeting with Winz officers to apply for emergency benefits after rejecting another pay offer from the company.

Two hundred and fifty workers have been locked out of the Riccarton plant for a week after refusing a two per cent pay offer.

Yesterday the company offered to resume talks, and increased the offer to 2.6 per cent in line with inflation.

Union negotiator Bernard McIlhone said that the offer was put to workers in a secret ballot this afternoon.

“They rejected it soundly,” he said.

The workers are seeking four per cent, in line with pay rises in the industry.

Mr McIlhone said that the lockout had hardened their resolve.

“They’ve already lost a week’s pay because of the company’s hard-hearted attitude,” he said. “They want a pay rise that makes up for it.”

Meanwhile, thousands of dollars worth of personal property, including tools and wallets, being held by the company has been recovered.

The union laid a complaint with the police earlier this week when the company refused to allow workers in to get their belongings.]

Mr McIlhone said that a police officer accompanied him to the site yesterday, and arrangements had been made for the property to be handed over.

The locked-out workers were this afternoon applying for emergency benefits from Winz.


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