April 21, 2008
Vector to blame for lines workers’ strike
Energex lines-workers responsible for the maintenance of the Vector-owned Auckland electrical network have issued notice of industrial action from May 1.
The industrial action will involve an overtime ban and a callout and standby ban and is the result of Vector’s contracting policy which does not provide enough funding to allow Energex to make a reasonable pay offer to its workers.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union electrical industry organiser Joe Gallagher says the industrial action will put serious strain on Auckland’s electrical infrastructure.
“Our members are already working around the clock to keep Auckland’s ageing electrical network ticking over and we expect that the notified over-time and call-out bans will result in serious supply issues.
“To be honest, Energex is not the main player in this because it’s Vector that has failed to invest in proper infrastructure and has failed to invest in the workforce needed to bring it up to scratch.
“Our members can nearly double their wages just by crossing the Tasman because there is an international shortage of skilled lines-workers and Vector has known this for a long time but has refused to put up the cash to make sure its customers have the network they need.
“Until Vector starts investing in the workforce needed to provide a stable and reliable electricity network they will continue to put Auckland’s people and its economic development at risk.”
Notice of the industrial action has been given because electrical network maintenance is considered part of an essential industry.
The EPMU represents fifty thousand working New Zealanders including 6000 in the telecommunications and electrical industry.