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Colgate workers strike for a ‘fair share’ pay rise

Colgate workers strike for a ‘fair share’ pay rise

Workers at the Colgate Palmolive plant at Petone will strike from 11pm tonight in support of a “fair-share” five per cent pay rise.

The strike will co-incide with a visit to the plant by the company’s South Pacific general manager, vice-president Derrick Samuel. The workers will mount a picket outside the plant to make sure that their message is heard by Mr Samuel and other company managers.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that plant was highly profitable and that the company could afford to give its workers a reasonable pay rise.

“These people have increased productivity year after year,” he said. “They work hard and deserve to be rewarded with a fair pay rise.”

Negotiations to renew the collective agreement, which expired on Friday (March 25) broke down during mediation last Thursday with the company offering a 3.4 per cent pay rise. The workers had reduced their claim from 5.75 per cent to five per cent.

Colgate Palmolive is a privately owned company whose profit sheets were not publicly available. However, Mr Little said that the union was confident that the company could afford a five per cent pay rise.

“Colgate’s code of conduct talks about caring for its workers with ‘integrity, fairness, and humanity’ – we’re just not seeing that here,” he said.

The 24-hour strike will involve 65 members of the EPMU and the National Distribution Union, and is expected to close the factory.

Workers will picket outside the factory, on the corner of Nevis St and the Hutt Rd in Petone, from 7am until 10am tomorrow. They will return to work at 11pm tomorrow.

Colgate Palmolive manufactures a wide range of toiletries and cleaning products, including Colgate toothpaste, Palmolive soap, Jif, Fab and Cold Power.

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