$79 Million an insult to striking workers
Union members from the Public Service Association and the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union at TVNZ have returned to work after 24 hours of full strike action to be met by the news of another $79m of taxpayers' money going into the coffers of the Crown Owned Company.
The action succeeded in taking Daily Keno off air and resulted in a reduction in the quality of the 6pm News including the show’s lead stories being covered by junior reporters.
The union members are seeking a 5% pay rise and to maintain their service leave. TVNZ is offering no service leave and a 2.25 percent pay increase - an effective pay cut after increases in the cost of living are taken into account.
To meet the members' pay claim TVNZ would need to come up with less than $300,000. That’s less than 0.4% of today’s windfall.
EPMU Organiser Rachel Mackintosh says the escalation of industrial action is intended as a wake-up call to TVNZ. “If the company thinks they will be able to wear these workers down they should think again. Today’s news the company’s getting seventy-nine million dollars for new channels will further grate with staff whose claims are tiny by comparison.”
“If these new channels are going to work TVNZ is going to have to realise how important the people who make and air the programmes are and a good place to begin is not cutting their real pay packets.”
PSA Organiser Brenden Sheehan says TVNZ’s behaviour toward its staff is outrageous. “This company needs to see that its reputation as a serious state broadcaster and as a representative of New Zealand’s culture is taking a serious public hit as people see how poorly they behave toward their staff.
“If TVNZ is serious about decent Kiwi programming they’ll apply some decent Kiwi values and do right by their workers.” he says.
Currently the unions are investigating the possibility of legal action over what appears to be illegal strikebreaking by TVNZ.