Fuseworks Media

Rotorua workers deserve to be paid fairly – AWUNZ

59 members of the Amalgamated Workers Union NZ (AWUNZ) and 16 members of First Union have voted to go on strike after months of negotiations resulted in a failure to come to an agreement with their employer Infracore. Infracore is a CCO of Rotorua Lakes Council and 100% Council owned, it remains the lowest paying local Council employer for these essential services.

Strike action will take place from Friday 22nd March @5am to Tuesday 26th March @5am unless we are directed into mediation beforehand.

“This is a huge step for our members” states AWUNZ organiser Toni Smith, this It is indicative of the huge frustration they feel with an employer who has shown no willingness to move from a position that makes Infracore workers significantly the worst paid in their field across all local bodies in the Bay of Plenty/Waikato.

The workers covered by this agreement work in parks, cemeteries and the provision of water services. Much of this is the work that was carried on, and called essential, throughout the Covid Pandemic now that these workers are asking to be paid the living wage they suddenly no longer matter.

“It’s completely outrageous that we have staff members with 10 plus years’ experience earning $23.65 an hour. Trainees at other local councils are better paid, and every other local body in the region pays a living wage of a minimum of $26 and hour.” Says Smith. “This isn’t greed, this strike will cost our members money, but they feel totally disrespected, undervalued, and have tried everything else. We have engaged openly and honestly and have been in discussions since June 2023.”

“Our members are part of this community and have reached out to community groups to minimise disruption to the public. Union members will work directly with Infracore Management to ensure that if strike is to proceed it will impact daily maintenance of Infracore services but will not affect burials & critical services to the community of Rotorua such as three waters.”

We want the same level of respect from the employer and agreement not to try to further undermine collective bargaining with contractor labour or further misrepresentation of the Union position.

 

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