October 3, 2008
Protest convoy in Hamilton today over Transfield redundancies
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union members at Telecom broadband contractor Transfield will be holding a protest convoy through the streets of Hamilton today to protest redundancies caused by the two companies’ failure to sort out their contract.
Transfield announced the 170 redundancies last week, blaming instability in the sector caused by Telecom’s aggressive negotiation tactics. The contractor is now considering exiting the telecommunications sector altogether – a move that would cost 1400 jobs and see crucial skills leave the country.
The protest convoy will involve around 30 vans and will take place between 2.30 and 3.45pm in central Hamilton. Workers will then picket the Transfield depot on the corner of Ruakura and Peachgrove Rd from 4.00 to 5.30pm and leaflet the rush hour traffic.
EPMU national industry organiser Joe Gallagher says the protest aims to put pressure on Telecom and Transfield to come to a deal and provide some security for the workforce and New Zealand’s telecommunications industry.
“Transfield is responsible for installing and maintaining nearly half of the country’s phone lines and internet connections and if they’re forced to exit the market so Telecom can improve its bottom line it’ll be our members and the wider public who will bear the consequences.
“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.
“Our members will be taking every opportunity they can to put pressure on Telecom and Transfield until a deal is reached and they can get decent rates and job security for doing work that is so vital to our economic future.”
The 170 redundancies include 21 in Hamilton. Workers expect to find out today whether they will be made redundant.
Today's action follows yesterday's picket outside the Telecom AGM in Wellington.