September 29, 2008
_Lumbercorp strike to continue
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union members at Waikato timber treatment plant Lumbercorp have voted to extend their strike action indefinitely at a meeting this morning.
The strike is in response to the company’s refusal to meet their cost of living pay claim of 4% despite more than three months of bargaining.
EPMU national timber industry organiser Alan Clarence says members are standing staunch.
“The vote to continue strike action was unanimous, which is a clear sign of our members’ determination to get a decent pay rise out of these negotiations.
“So far the company’s best offer has been below inflation which effectively makes it a pay cut in real terms, and when these workers are on rates as low as thirteen dollars an hour they aren’t in any position to take a cut.
“Nobody takes strike action lightly, but with the company still refusing a cost of living adjustment after three months of negotiations our members have been left with no other option.”
Local EPMU Organiser Garth Elliot says the strike action will be affecting Lumbercorp’s operations.
“There are eighteen workers taking this action and they are all from key areas in the plant so we expect the company will be feeling the effects of this action and hope it helps bring them back to the table with a decent offer.”
Mediation between the union and Lumbercorp is scheduled to take place on Friday morning.
The EPMU represents 50,000 New Zealand workers across 11 industries, including more than 3,000 workers in the timber sector.