March 28, 2008
Telecom must front - EPMU
Telecom must front up with the money for proper pay and conditions for telecommunications workers, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union’s Electrical and Communications Industry Council.
The council consists of electrical and telecommunications industry workers from around New Zealand and met this week in the shadow of a wage negotiation breakdown with Telecom contractor Downer EDI.
EPMU ElectroComms Industry Organiser Joe Gallagher says there has been very little change in Telecom’s attitude to infrastructure despite its promises.
“Our members are at the frontline of New Zealand’s broadband crisis and they are reporting that Telecom is still not providing the money needed to keep skilled workers in the country and that means there will be nobody to actually lay the fibre network and maintain the exchanges. It’s that simple.
“Our members can double their wages just by crossing the ditch but in the meantime Telecom has been playing contractors against each other to the point where they just don’t have the margins to pay staff properly.
“It’s all very well for Telecom to talk about how its new lines company Chorus is a step forward but so far our members have seen no more commitment to do what’s needed for decent broadband.
“This has got beyond a straight-forward wages issue and into an issue about the economic future of New Zealand. By refusing to pay the money for decent rates and conditions they are draining the country of the people we need to keep our telecommunications running.”
The EPMU represents five thousand workers in the Telecommunications and Electrical Infrastructure industries.
EPMU Electrical and Telecommunications Industry Council resolution:
ElectroComms Industry Council calls on Telecom and its CEO,
Paul Reynolds, to take serious steps to honour their
commitment to upgrade New Zealand’s high-speed broadband
infrastructure and ensure that the necessary skills to do so
are kept in the country by working with their contractors to
produce industry terms and conditions that properly reflect
the Australasian industry