Strikes loom at Tegel

Union members at Tegel's Taranaki operations have voted to strike if pay negotiations fail at mediation this afternoon.

In talks with the chicken company for six months, Engineering and Printing Manufacturing  Union lead organiser Wayne Ruscoe said 230 union members at the company had voted to take industrial action if their demands were not satisfactorily met. 

Mr Ruscoe said Tegel's Bell Block factory would have to shut down if EPMU members walked off.  

He said the workers were ''pretty militant'' and this morning had rejected Tegel's latest pay offer. Mr Ruscoe would not say what that offer was or what workers wanted. 

''You would appreciate these people aren't paid very much. We are asking for a living wage,'' he said. 

The decision to take action was a first for union workers at the factory and they had never walked off the job before, Mr Ruscoe said. 

If the company could find a mediator this afternoon and showed ''good faith'' Mr Ruscoe said members would go back to work. 

A spokesman for Tegel said union members had now returned to work and negotiations were continuing. 
The pay negotiations are part of a wider battle by the union get pay parity for its Taranaki members with Tegel staff in Christchurch.

Taranaki Daily News