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Tiwai workers’ union welcomes agreement with Meridian


8 August 2013

Media Release

Tiwai workers’ union welcomes agreement with Meridian

The union representing workers at the Tiwai Point smelter welcomes the agreement reached between Meridian Energy and the smelter owners.

“This agreement protects jobs and offers some stability for the workers and the community of Southland,” says EPMU organiser for Invercargill Trevor Hobbs.

“It’s concerning that the agreement only guarantees the smelter will stay open for a few more years, but our members and their families now have some breathing room. We’ll be following up with the smelter owners to get clarification about the details of the deal and how it might affect the smelter workers in future.”

“Having received $30 million of taxpayer support, NZAS now has a strong obligation to keep the smelter operating for many more years to come.”

The Tiwai Point smelter is worth 3200 jobs and $1.6 billion a year to Southland’s economy.

“The job security which the smelter provides for the people of Invercargill is hugely important,” says Trevor Hobbs.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing, which released its report earlier this year, found that a strong and successful manufacturing sector is vital for exports, better jobs and higher incomes in New Zealand.

“What we need is a dedicated national plan to grow our manufacturing sector and lower our exchange rate, which is hurting Kiwi businesses and workers.”

The EPMU thanks the people of Invercargill, who have rallied around the smelter workers during this stressful time. “Thousands of postcards were sent to Bill English, Minister of Finance, asking him to save our smelter. The Southland community have been a huge support to our members,” says Trevor Hobbs.

The EPMU remains concerned about yesterday’s proposals to make some maintenance staff at the smelter redundant and will be working with the company to try to reduce this number.

ENDS

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