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Telecom haggling will hurt workers, economy - EPMU

September 23, 2008

Media Release

Telecom haggling will hurt workers, economy - EPMU

As they start the vote on the outcome of their employment negotiations the future for more than 1400 Transfield lines workers has become uncertain due to the major telecommunications contractor's failure to secure a contract with Telecom.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union members are currently deciding whether to accept a deal with Transfield but have concerns the company may have to shut down its operations in the face of hard bargaining by its main client, Telecom.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says if the deal is rejected members will consider starting strike action targeting Telecom's operations.

"At the moment our members are tossing up whether they take the deal to ensure they get something from Transfield before a possible closure or if they reject the deal and take the fight to Telecom.

"A secure future for broadband in New Zealand is critical to our economy but Telecom's decision to squeeze one of their biggest contractors for a short term saving only increases the uncertainty of that future.

"There is already a massive shortage of skilled telecommunications workers in New Zealand and actions like this will only ensure that shortage gets worse.

"Telecom have a long-term interest in ensuring a stable environment for telco workers and organisations but their current actions don't reflect that at all.

"If Transfield shuts down its operations we'll see fourteen hundred redundancies and even more crucial skills leaving our shores."

The EPMU represents 50,000 workers across 11 industries, including 6,000 in the electrical and telecommunications industry.

ENDS


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