July 6, 2004
Electricity workers ban overtime
Electricity workers on the North Shore are refusing to do overtime in the wake of their employer’s refusal to settle their collective agreement.
More than 50 workers from the international company Siemens Energy Group have imposed a one-month overtime ban in a bid to get the stalled talks moving.
Advocate Gavin Bell, of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU), said the talks had dragged for more than five months, with the company trying to win extensive clawbacks – including forcing the workers to work whenever it wanted, regardless of earlier agreements.
“These people do dangerous, highly-skilled work,” Mr Bell said.
“They understand the crucial nature of that work, and have always been happy to work callouts on a voluntary basis and be paid overtime and allowances. But they are not prepared to have their lives – and those of their families – turned upside by being forced to work on compulsory standby at reduced rates.”
The company was also refusing to offer the workers a decent pay rise, regardless of the fact that there was an international shortage of people with their skills, Mr Bell said.
The workers do maintenance, emergency and installation work in an area running from Devonport and Henderson up to Helensville and Whangaparaoa. The overtime ban came into force last Friday.