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ASTE Workers resolve to continue strike action

Association of Staff in Tertiary Education
ASTE Te Hau Takitini o Aotearoa

ASTE Workers resolve to continue with further strike action this week - they’re hurting in the heartland!

12 ASTE members who work for EastBay REAP (rural education activities programmes) based in Whakatāne with bases in Ōpotiki and Kawerau) have resolved to take further unprecedented strike action in protest at their employer’s failure to make any shift in their bargaining stance, ASTE advocate, Jenny Chapman, says.

“Members went on strike this week and last week in an attempt to get a shift in their employer’s position”, Ms Chapman said, “but to date there has been no such shift so members have made the decision to continue their strike action”. She made the comment that this was not easy action for members to take in small communities, but that they felt that they had no option and they have been buoyed by the support their pickets and public action have recieved from their communities .

“We would see these workers’ pay and conditions fall further and further behind their colleagues working in the same sector if they didn’t take action. Enough is enough” Ms Chapman said.

The members are proposing further strike and public action in an attempt to secure a fair deal and this next action will be likely to focus on Heartland projects in Opotiki and Kawerau where the members’ wages are shockingly low!

“The Government funds these projects nationally through a wide range of not for profit agencies with many targeted at " at risk " folk in poorer communities. Unfortunately the wages and conditions for those delivering these services are very low. It would cost taxpayers much much more to engage public servants or private profit contractors even if they had available staff with the skills and knowledge.” Ms Chapman said. She added “This is why Eastbay REAP has been able to cream off in excess of $1.5 million into cash reserves! Cash reserves which we have been told can’t be spent on the programmes. At the end of the day the buck does stop with the employer,- the CEO Jacqui Hughes and she cannot wash her hands – she’s the boss and she hasn't yet offered what her counterparts through out the rest of NZ offer "


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