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Protest Greets Prime Minister at Burnham Camp

Protest Greets Prime Minister at Burnham Camp: Union to Vote on Strike Action

Helen Clark’s visit to Burnham Military Camp was greeted by a demonstration by members of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today. The Prime Minister was at Burnham for the passing out of the latest batch of Limited Service Volunteers. NUPE represents civilian workers at the camp who do a range of jobs from storekeeping, administration and payroll through to catering.

“NUPE has been in pay talks with NZDF for the past six weeks. We are asking for an 8% salary increase, NZDF have offered 2.5%” said NUPE Organiser John Kerr.

“Our members have told us that is not good enough. They are proud of the contribution they make to NZDF and are fully supportive of their military colleagues, particularly the soldiers they work alongside at Burnham Camp. However, whilst military staff have had up to 23% increases in pay since 2001, our members have had nothing like that. They’re not asking for the same as the military but they would like the gap to be closed a little The fact they wwere prepared to demonstrate during the Prime Minister’s visit illustrates the depth of feeling.” said John Kerr.

“Civilian staff are paid as little as $22500 and NZDF has become increasingly dependent on civilians in recent years. Our members want to be recognised for the contribution they make to the defence of our country” said John Kerr

“We are holding a stop work meeting at Burnham Camp on Wednesday to consider where we go from here. Members have already voted in favour of industrial action in principle, and will be voting on specific strike action at that meeting. We are conscious this is a first in the New Zealand armed forces, but our members do want the Chief of the Defence Force to hear the level of their discontent” said John Kerr

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