March 14, 2008
Council workers strike to keep bargaining rights
Forty-five Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union members in the New Plymouth District Council parks division began strike action at 4pm today after nearly eight months of stalled bargaining.
The parks workers are striking over the Council’s attempts to impose a consultant-driven pay system – a move that would take away their right to negotiate collective pay increases in the future.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the workers are right to reject the council’s proposal.
“There have been quite substantial short-term increases offered by the council to induce members into this system but they’ve recognised that in the medium to long-term they’d be sacrificing their right to claim decent ongoing pay-rises.
“Everyone knows wages in this country are a serious issue but the only way they will rise meaningfully and consistently is through collective bargaining. Systems like the one the New Plymouth District Council wants to introduce are actually about taking bargaining power away from staff.”
Workers will be conducting an information picket outside the WOMAD festival this evening.