April 4, 2008 Media Release
Strike enters third day at chemical plant
Full strike action continued into its third day at Ecolab’s Hamilton plant today with Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union members picketing on Te Rapa Road and outside the chemical giant’s Hamilton office.
The dispute is over the $5.5bn multinational’s refusal to accept its workers’ claim to become part of the country’s biggest manufacturing employment agreement, the Metals.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the claim is about getting fair industry standards.
“These workers are only asking for the same benchmark deal that hundreds of other workers in their industry already get but Ecolab seems to think it’s some kind of special case and can push Kiwi workers into a lesser deal.
“Ecolab relies on Kiwi businesses like Fonterra for its considerable profits but is refusing to even engage on Kiwi industry standards for its workers.
“Everyone knows wages are too low in New Zealand and it’s this sort of behaviour from huge multinational companies like Ecolab that bear a good part of the responsibility.
“Disputes like this are the sharp-end of the fight for a high-wage, high-skill economy and it’s time employers like Ecolab started to realise that the issue is bigger than just their individual sites.”
The EPMU’s Metals and Manufacturing Multi-Employer Employment Agreement covers over 100 manufacturing companies around the country and sets the standard for industry rates and conditions.