Mine work­ers plan more strike ac­tion

Waihi Leader - - News - By ME­LANIE CAMOIN news@wai­hileader.co.nz

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.

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED

Un­der­ground mine work­ers took in­dus­trial ac­tion last week­end for the sec­ond week in a row.

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