This is the year the government brought in new legislation attacking workers’ rights. While the new laws will make defending workers’ rights harder some workers are showing that there’s a fighting spirit and victories to be won.
In October this year union members working on the Kan Tan 4 drilling rig in Taranaki won a 30% pay increase in their collective agreement. It was the result of international solidarity among workers across the Tasman.
The EPMU launched a short film titled “Black Gold” about the 30% pay increase achieved by EPMU members in Taranaki covered by the Kan Tan 4 collective agreement.
Here’s what the EPMU put out about the agreement:
The agreement was negotiated by the Trans-Tasman Oil & Gas Alliance,
which comprises the EPMU, Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ),
Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Australian Workers Union
(AWU), and which was established to work towards pay parity for all
oil and gas workers in New Zealand and Australia.
This landmark collective agreement provides for Australian rates of
pay in New Zealand and shows that real improvements in wages won’t
come from fiddling around with the tax system,” said EPMU national
secretary Andrew Little, speaking at the film’s launch in New Plymouth
on 4 October.
The agreement was made possible by the level of co-operation between
the unions involved, a highly mobile workforce, and an industry with
high margins which can afford good wage levels”, he said.
The agreement is the sort of thing that we need to keep Kiwi workers
here rather than having to head overseas to chase better rates of
Black Gold” is directed by Tony Sutorius (Unreal Films) and features
interviews with EPMU national industrial officer Paul Tolich and EPMU
organiser Ross Henderson, MUNZ national secretary Joe Fleetwood,
MUA’s Mick Doleman, AWU’s David Healey and workers in the industry.
The film Black Gold is on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUDoq6X9-7o