October 17, 2006
Industrial action pays workers millions
Industrial action has put millions of dollars into the pockets of working people, says the architect of the Fair Share pay campaign.
Andrew Little, national secretary of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union, said that latest figures from Statistics New Zealand showed that there had been 59 workplace stoppages in the year to June, involving a total of 16,123 people who lost a total of $5.2 million in wages.
“Simple mathematics shows that the pain of industrial action is worthwhile for working people,” he said.
“Using the average wage of around $38,000 and a conservative pay settlement of 4 per cent, those workers gained a collective $24.5m a year in extra pay –$19m more than they lost in the industrial action.”
Mr Little said that workers did not like industrial action, but were prepared to go through it when necessary.
“For too long the working people of this country have been paid too little,” he said.
“They aren’t prepared to put up with it any longer, and are taking action where necessary to secure a decent, living wage.”
Mr Little said that not all industrial action could be laid at the feet of workers; in some case employers locked workers out.