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Labour Day call to employers

Labour Day call to employers

New Zealand’s largest union is calling for a summit on the future of New Zealand industry.

A reinvigorated Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union is today launching a major campaign to prevent a return of free-market industrial relations under a National-Act government, and says that it is time for everyone involved in manufacturing to sit down together and plan the future.

“New Zealand tried free-market policies in the 1990s and they didn’t work,” said EPMU national secretary Andrew Little.

“The result was falling wages and conditions and a labour crisis. Skilled workers are now in demand, which puts them in the box seat.

“We could extract punishment for what they went through in the 1990s, but there is a better way. This country needs a stable economy, with well-paid jobs and fair and reliable conditions.

“We now challenge employers to turn away from the New Right rhetoric of those who purport to represent them, and work with us on the real issues that face us – globalisation of manufacturing and an international skills shortage.”

The union’s campaign includes advertisements today and on Monday in all major daily newspapers, the launch of a new website and news service to better inform members and the public about issues affecting workers, a poster campaign in major centres, and the establishment of a network of thousands of members prepared to be active in the coming general election.

Mr Little said that the EPMU had spent the past four years rebuilding itself into a modern, more active organisation in which ordinary members could pool their strength and skills to achieve real change.

Labour weekend was an appropriate time to launch the campaign because it celebrated the strength of working people, he said.

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