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Transfield workers to picket Telecom AGM - EPMU

October 1, 2008

Transfield workers to picket Telecom AGM - EPMU

Transfield workers will be picketing outside Telecom's AGM tomorrow morning to protest the company's strong-arm tactics which are putting 1400 jobs and the future of the telecommunications sector at risk.

Transfield, a key Telecom lines contractor, last week announced 170 redundancies due to Telecom's aggressive negotiation tactics and is now considering exiting the telecommunications sector altogether - a move that would cost 1400 jobs and see crucial skills leave the country.

EPMU national industry organiser Joe Gallagher says the picket is the start of nationwide protest over Telecom's actions which threaten the stability of the whole telecommunications industry.

"Transfield is responsible for installing and maintaining nearly half of the country's phone lines and internet connections and if Telecom's strong-arm approach forces them out of the market it'll be our members and the public who bear the consequences.

"The deal between Telecom and Transfield is a high-stakes game and if it doesn't come off we'll lose highly skilled people overseas. Even now Transfield are getting calls from as far afield as Canada looking to headhunt telco lines-workers.

"When New Zealand's economic future is dependant on reliable high-speed internet, playing fast and loose with a major contractor and its 1400 skilled workers just for a short-term financial gain is crazy.

"We want Telecom and Transfield to get this sorted out and our members will be taking action around the country to make sure that happens, starting with Telecom's AGM tomorrow."

The protest will be held outside the Telecom AGM at the Duxton Hotel in Wellington from 9:30am tomorrow morning and further action is planned for Friday.


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