April 9, 2008
Chemical strike enters second week
Strike action at the Hamilton branch of US multinational Ecolab entered its second week today as suspended Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union members continued picket action to get basic industry standards from the $5.5bn chemical industry giant.
The workers are striking because Ecolab has refused to discuss the workers’ claim to join the Metals and Manufacturing Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) that currently delivers industry standards to workers in over 100 New Zealand companies.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says that Ecolab need to recognise workers are determined to get basic industry standards.
“This is a huge multinational company that services our lucrative dairy industry and last year turned over five and a half billion dollars US in sales, and they’re telling us they are ‘philosophically opposed’ to meeting Kiwi industry standards.
“Our members don’t see why they should be worse off than Kiwi workers in other industries just because they work for a huge and powerful company and they are not going to be bullied into a lesser deal.
“We have a low-wage problem in New Zealand and having rapacious multinationals like Ecolab refusing Kiwi workers even the basic industry standards is only going to make this worse.
“Our members are in this for the long-haul and we’re actually picking up more members as the dispute continues, which is always a sign of serious issues in a company.”
The EPMU represents 50,000 working New Zealanders including more than 7000 manufacturing workers.