Pa­cific Fuel ‘down­play­ing’ ef­fects of stop­page: union

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

He said there were no grounds for a strike be­cause the com­pany had al­ready agreed to go to me­di­a­tion when the union served no­tice of the pro­posed stop­page, but he was hope­ful it could be averted.

If not, there would be a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on gas sup­plies as the com­pany de­liv­ered to a large num­ber of hos­pi­tals. Rock­gas was a ma­jor cus­tomer.

About 40 per cent of Pa­cific’s work­force were not union mem­bers and Pear­son said they were put­ting to­gether a skeleton crew to do some de­liv­er­ies if the strike went ahead.

‘‘We’re do­ing our best to to min­imise the ef­fect on our cus­tomers.’’

Ab­bott said ‘‘claw­back’’ clauses were a ma­jor stick­ing point in ne­go­ti­a­tions.

‘‘They’re say­ing: ‘We will give you a pay rise, but we will take all these other things off you.’ ’’

The threat­ened tanker driver stop­page is due to end the day be­fore Air New Zealand en­gi­neers are due to strike for a day, but those look­ing to rail as an al­ter­na­tive form of trans­port could be dis­ap­pointed.

Ki­wiRail’s gen­eral man­ager of sales, Alan Piper, said it was too early to tell whether the pos­si­ble air­line strike would af­fect book­ings, which were al­ways heavy at this time of year.

‘‘There is lim­ited ca­pac­ity for ex­tra book­ings. The pe­riod lead­ing up to Christ­mas is also a pe­riod of strong de­mand for freight ser­vices, and there is also lim­ited ca­pac­ity to ac­com­mo­date more freight.’’

ALDEN WIL­LIAMS/STUFF

Z En­ergy’s 220 sta­tions would be af­fected if Pa­cific Fuel Haul driv­ers walk off the job on De­cem­ber 16.

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