March 9, 2005
EMA attempts to smash Metals will fail - union
Employers say they will no longer negotiate
Manufacturing workers say that attempts by employers to smash the key Metals agreement will fail.
The EMA (Northern) has just told the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union that it will not continue with negotiations to renew the Metals and Manufacturing Industries multi-employer collective agreement, which expired on Monday.
Talks between the two to renew the agreement broke down on February 24 after the EMA made a final offer of a 3.2 per cent pay rise. The union took the offer back to members, and 95 per cent voted to reject it. They are claiming a five per cent pay rise, which they say is a fair share of the current economic prosperity.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said that the union was willing to discuss the issues further, but the employers were now ruling this out.
“They are now saying that they will not negotiate,” he said.
“This is a political attempt to get rid of the Metals agreement because it is too successful. The Metals has served workers and employers well for years and is acknowledged by both sides as setting the going rates across the private sector.
“Many employers have told me privately that our claim is fair, but the success of the Metals does not suit a political agenda that says multi-employer agreements are bad.”
Mr Little said that the employers’ attempts would only serve to strengthen the resolve of all workers to fight for a fair pay rise this year.
Workers covered by the Metals agreement will vote at mass stop-work meetings this week on their response to the employers’ stand.