April 2, 2008
Strike action escalates at chemical giant
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union members at the Hamilton plant of chemical giant Ecolab have gone on strike for a second time over the US-based multinational’s stubborn refusal to sign up to the Metals and Manufacturing MECA.
The Metals is an industry standard agreement and includes more than a hundred general manufacturing firms across the country, but Ecolab, which has global revenues of more than $5.5 billion a year, claims it has a “philosophical objection” to industry agreements and has refused to negotiate.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says Ecolab’s refusal shows an astounding arrogance towards its own workers.
“The Metals agreement sets a benchmark for wages and conditions in the manufacturing industry in New Zealand and is widely accepted.
“If New Zealand is going to break out of its low wage mentality then we need strong industry agreements like the Metals to raise standards across the board and that means highly profitable companies like Ecolab need to stump up.
“Ecolab’s so-called “philosophy” is utterly irrelevant, and is probably in breach of its good faith obligations.”
The fifteen striking EPMU members stand to gain industry standards like an extra week’s leave if they can bring Ecolab into the MECA.