More than 140 workers at a Nelson timbermill have walked off the job this morning as their year-long employment dispute drags on.
The workers at the Carter Holt Harvey Eves Valley mill have already won a court case against the company over its plan to stop providing transport to the remote mill.
They have accepted a $5000-per-person buyout of the transport provision – but now the company wants to take tax off the top.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said that the union had obtained legal advice which said that the allowance should be paid tax-free.
“The transport allowance that it is replacing is paid tax-free, and this payment is being made in settlement of litigation,” he said. “Our advice says that the company would be wrong to deduct tax.”
The workers are also angry that the company is refusing to backdate a cost-of-living rise for more than six months, despite the fact they haven’t had a payrise since 1999.
“This dispute has dragged on for more than a year because of the company’s intransigence,” he said. “We are so close to reaching a settlement – and the company is digging its toes in again.”
The workers are expected to return to work tomorrow morning. The union is seeking talks with the company.