Mine workers plan more strike action
Underground mine workers are planning further strike action if a settlement is not reached.
Miners at OceanaGold’s Waihi mine set up a picket line along Baxter Road last Monday as part of a 48-hour strike that started last Saturday.
Workers and the company have failed to reach an agreement in pay talks.
E tu¯ union organiser Myles Leeson said that the proposed 2.2 per cent increase offered by the company is “not fair”.
“But we are trying to reach a settlement and hopefully we will make it.”
Myles said that workers hoped for a 4 per cent rise instead, based on the record profit the company made this year.
The Waihi mine is also expanding, with recent surveys revealing a rich vein of gold in a new field — up to seven times the amount that was expected.
“The company’s doing really well, and they’ve got to share that with the workers,” Myles said.
OceanaGold said it believes it has made a fair and reasonable offer to miners.
“The offer which has been made is well above the Consumer Price Index and is in line with other recently agreed pay increases in the metalliferous mining sector,” Waihi General Manager Bernie O’Leary said.
He said the mining company is keen to resolve the outstanding pay rate issue, and would like to get agreement as soon as practicable.
Myles Leeson could not disclose wages but said they earn “reasonable money”.
“But we need to keep up with the inflation too. We are also talking about the excessive hours they are doing and fatigue, which is a real health and safety issue,” he said.
Bernie O’Leary said that mine workers are some of the highest paid workers in New Zealand.
Ninety workers first walked off the job two weekends ago, and this second round mobilised 65 according to E tu¯, and is part of a series of planned stoppages over the coming weeks. Both parties will meet next Thursday for mediation.
Underground mine workers took industrial action last weekend for the second week in a row.