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Striking workers picket Jami-Lee Ross’ office today

Media Release: FIRST Union
Tuesday 25 June 2013

Striking workers picket Jami-Lee Ross’ office today over strike breaking law

Auckland Rockgas workers who are currently on strike will stage a noisy picket outside the office of Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross at 12.30pm today.

Parliament is back from recess today.  On the final day of the previous session, Jami-Lee Ross’ bill weakening the industrial action provisions of the Employment Relations Act was drawn from the ballot, and will be debated in the coming weeks.

Drivers at Contact Energy’s Rockgas in Auckland are entering their fourth week of strike action, and will make their views know outside the office today about the proposed changes.

FIRST Union organiser Jared Abbott said the current law is weak and employers get around it anyway. 

“The new law will just make it that much more difficult for workers to take industrial action.”

“Workers don’t make a decision to take industrial action lightly.  When they go on strike it is usually because they have reached the end of bargaining and are unable to convince their employer to offer a decent wage offer.”

“Contact Energy’s Rockgas workers went on strike because the company claims to be a market leader with nearly 50 per cent of market share yet pays some of the lowest wages for the work of this nature.  In bargaining Rockgas made a wage offer that actually was lower than what they currently pay new employees now.”

“Jami-Lee Ross’ bill would mean employers could offer very low wages, knowing that if workers took industrial action in support of a pay claim, other workers could simply be brought in much easier than is currently the case,” Jared Abbott said.

The strike-breaking bill comes on top of other amendments to the Employment Relations Act National has introduced.  These include the removal of an obligation to complete negotiations, removal of the provision of new workers to benefit from union-negotiated conditions for the first 30 days while they consider joining the union, removal of the requirement for adherence to meal and rest breaks and a number of others.

What: Picket of Jamie Lee Ross’ electorate office over his proposed strike breaking bill
Where: 309 Botany Road, Botany.
When: 12.30pm – 1.30pm, Tuesday 25 June.

ENDS

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