Tegel, workers reach pay deal

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 05:00 06/12/2012
tdn tegel stand
TARANAKI DAILY NEWS
EPMU lead organiser Wayne Ruscoe

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Taranaki Tegel workers have secured a 7.25 per cent pay rise over 2 years after a week of tense negotiations and two days of industrial action.

Approximately 230 Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing union members had been engaged in the action since last Wednesday in a bid to get pay parity with their Christchurch and Auckland counterparts. Negotiations appeared to reach a stalemate on Friday when workers rejected Tegel's offer and Tegel refused to meet again to discuss another one.

The industrial action never reached the level of a full-blown strike.

EPMU lead organiser Wayne Ruscoe said members yesterday accepted a 7.25 per cent pay rise spread over the next two and a half years.

Tegel said the thee-year deal involves annual increases of 2.5, 2.0 and 2.75 per cent.

"A majority of that will be paid by June and backdated for six months so that will be a nice Christmas bonus for our members. We are rapt with it. It's been hard yakka," Mr Ruscoe said.

With close to half of Taranaki Tegel workers understood to be union members, any strike action would have immediately affected production.

It is believed the action came six months after the collective agreement had expired and union members rejected the company's new offer last Wednesday.

Mr Ruscoe said Tegel's New Plymouth workforce were previously paid up to 10 per cent less than workers at other plants doing the same work. Some were on as little as $14 an hour.

"There's still a way to go before we win full pay equity but this deal closes the gap significantly and our members can be proud of what they've achieved together.

"We are also pleased the company has accepted the pay equity issue is real, and we hope to continue to work with management to close the gap entirely," Mr Ruscoe said.

A spokesman for Tegel said they were pleased an agreement had been reached that treated staff equally.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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