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Hurunui Council lockout could cost Farmers, holidaymakers

Farmers and holidaymakers could suffer if Hurunui District Council proceeds with a lockout against its own workers, the PSA says.

PSA members who maintain and operate water and sewerage systems have been told they will be locked out for an indefinite period from 2 January.

This could have a big impact on farmers facing another long dry summer - and tourism operators, who could face water issues at their busiest time of the year.

"Imagine the impact on farmers if they can’t call on the Council specialist team to fix water problems," PSA Organiser Shane Lean says.

"And visitors to Hanmer and other tourist centres could have their holidays ruined if there are problems with sewerage or drinking water that can’t be remedied.

"This lockout is an extreme reaction to very low-level industrial action proposed by our members at Hurunui, with potentially unpleasant consequences for the region."

PSA members are asking for an increase to on-call rates - which are currently paid at around $2 an hour for an essential service.

"Our members are asking for fair recognition of the work they do, given the fact their on-call hours are not their own," Mr Lean says.

"We believe the rate they are currently paid is not lawful.

"The PSA and the Council will attend mediation on Wednesday, and issuing a lockout notice is inflaming the situation ahead of this.

"We hope to have a constructive discussion, and have written to the Council to ask them to withdraw the notice."

© Scoop Media

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