December 14, 2004
Star journos and printers take industrial action
Journalists and printers at the Christchurch Star are the latest group of media workers to take industrial action.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that 52 journalists and printers voted overwhelmingly to take limited industrial action after talks today failed to settle their collective agreement.
Journalists and dispatch workers at the Northern Advocate, in Whangarei, continued their strike today, and printers at PMP Print in Christchurch walked off the job this afternoon.
All three disputes are over pay rates, but Mr Little said that the Christchurch Press dispute had a more sinister overtone.
“Not only has the company offered a mere 2.5 per cent pay rise at a time when most workers are getting at least 3.5 per cent, but it’s made the offer conditional upon journalists and printers agreeing to being covered by separate agreements,” he said.
“This is a classic divide-and-rule tactic, and the workers are not accepting it.”
Industrial action at the Star includes an overtime ban and a ban on printing commercial work. The workers will also hold mass tea and lunch breaks.
The Star and the Advocate are both owned by Irishman Tony O’Reilly’s Australian Provincial Newspapers. Workers at the Star are seeking a 4.6 per cent pay for a one-year agreement. The company wants a two-year agreement, with a 2.5 per cent pay rise each year.
Northern Advocate workers are seeking a 3.5 per cent pay rise, but have been offered 2.9 per cent his year and 2.5 per cent next year.
Workers at Australian-owned PMP Print in Christchurch are seeking a four per cent wage rise, and have been offered three per cent this year and another three per cent next year. The plant prints high-quality magazines, including House and Garden and Cuisine, as well a publications like the TV Guide and the Otago Property Press.
Star workers will hold another stopwork meeting on Friday.