Article – BusinessDesk
June 30 (BusinessDesk) – E Tu union leaders and manufacturing representatives will pick-up talks next month in a cross-employer collective agreement spanning 600 workers and more than 80 firms.Thursday 30 June 2016 04:25 PM
E Tu union, manufacturers to meet next month in Metals collective deal
By Paul McBeth
June 30 (BusinessDesk) – E Tu union leaders and manufacturing representatives will pick-up talks next month in a cross-employer collective agreement spanning 600 workers and more than 80 firms.
Representatives from the union and nine companies met for two days earlier this week to renew the Metal and Manufacturing Industries Collective Agreement, which covers manufacturing and engineering firms of all sizes and was first established in 1991 when industrial law was overhauled by the Employment Contracts Act. The deal wasn’t concluded and another date has been set for mid-July, E Tu industry coordinator Anita Rosentreter said in a statement.
“Progress has been made towards meeting the interests of the union and manufacturers, negotiations continue and an outcome has yet to be reached,” she said.
Earlier this week, E Tu said it was pushing for a “fair and reasonable” pay rise and more worker representation when it comes to health and safety.
Workers under the deal received a 2.5 percent pay rise from negotiations in 2014, following increases of 2.1 percent and 2.8 percent covering the 2012 to 2014 period. Government data show ordinary time average wages in manufacturing rose 3.6 percent to $28.18 an hour in the first quarter of 2016 from a year earlier, following annual gains of 2.2 percent, 1.8 percent and 3.3 percent in 2015, 2014, and 2013 respectively.
The nine firms representing employers are window systems supplier Architectural Profiles, wire and steel products maker Anchor Wire, NZX-listed tap manufacturer Methven, light maker Strand Selecon Lighting, fastener manufacturer and distributor Steelmasters, mixing firm Western Engineering Group, fabricated metal product manufacturer RCR Building Products (NZ), industrial brass fittings producer Reliance Worldwide, and lighting supplier Thorn Lighting (NZ).
Those companies fit the agreement’s criteria that they be well-run, profitable, don’t have pending lay-offs and are on good terms with the union.
The collective agreement, known as Metals, has shrunk over the past decade, having covered more than 2,000 staff at 220 companies in 2005, when current Labour leader Andrew Little headed the EPMU and led a series of strikes for higher pay. Since then, the breadth of the deal halved to 1,000 workers at 100 firms in the 2012 deal and has continued to decline.
Multi-employer collective agreements were weakened by the government’s changes to employment law in 2014, which allowed firms to opt out of bargaining when a new deal was proposed, a current agreement renegotiated, or where a firm is cited to join an existing agreement.