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Waihi gold miners on strike over pass-on


Waihi gold miners on strike over pass-on

Waihi gold miners in the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) are on strike today after rejecting a new three year collective contract offer from the employer, contractor HWE Mining Pty Ltd, because the company insists on passing on the same deal to non-union workers and refuses to recognise the stability a three year agreement provides.

The strike action at Newmont Waihi Gold’s Favona Decline underground gold mine involves 55 miners in the EPMU and the workers involved are due to return tomorrow, Saturday 3 July.

“The members are seeking a payment as a consequence of the employer passing on the last deal, negotiated in 2007, to non-union workers and further payments each year under the new agreement in recognition that a three year agreement gives the company stability and certainty," says union national secretary Andrew Little.

“It’s bad enough that union members suffer the taunts of non-union workers who selfishly wait until the heavy lifting is done in getting decent pay and conditions, but it is worse when the employer obviously exploits the situation to try to undermine the union.

“This Australian employer would never do this in their own back yard and our members are saying to the employer and their 20 or so non-union colleagues “enough is enough – we offer certainty and efficiency and we want this recognised in our deal.

“The reality is that in a workplace like this, union members set the standard and by entering into a collective agreement they lose the right to strike for the duration of the agreement, unlike non-union workers, and this should be reflected in the deal – it sets union members apart from other workers.

The EPMU represents 1200 workers in coal and gold mining in New Zealand.

ENDS

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