Category: Energy and Mining

Strike! Taharoa workers have had enough

E tū union members at Taharoa Ironsands mine have issued a strike notice today, as the company continues to refuse a fair deal for the workers.

The industrial action will take effect from just after midnight on 24 August, and involves a complete ban on loading the iron slurry onto ships, meaning it will remain onshore until further notice.

E tū organiser Joe Gallagher says the strike is in response to the completely unreasonable approach to wage talks taken by the company, with new boss Wayne Coffey calling the shots.

“The company, under the guidance of Wayne Coffey, is determined to reduce terms and conditions for current employees and to strip away long-standing rights and entitlements for future workers,” says Joe.

“Ever since Mr Coffey took over, the Taharoa community has been bullied and side-lined. The workers have had enough of the company’s refusal to treat them fairly,” he says.

Joe says the mining operations have been vital to the welfare of the remote Taharoa community, which has been a shining example of a self-sustaining community.

“Local groups and leaders banded together to establish a local employment policy that, on the whole, has functioned well until this point.

“Now workers, their families, and the wider community are deeply concerned that Mr Coffey has no regard for the local people nor the generations that will come after them.”

Joe says that high union density onsite and strong local support has encouraged Taharoa workers to stand up to the company and protect their way of life.

“The workers won’t back down,” says Joe.

“They’re highly skilled, highly organised, and know that they deserve the respect that Taharoa Ironsands Ltd won’t give them. Every single member voted in favour of taking this action.

“The message from the community is simple. They won’t let their terms and conditions go backwards. They will stand up together, not just for themselves, but for their colleagues and family that come after them.

“Mr Coffey seems to be saying it’s his way, or the highway. Well, the community that lives and works together will be standing tall together to show him that we see things differently.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015

E tū supports a Just Transition

25 May 2018

Today the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern met with our members in the oil and gas industry in Taranaki, to explain the Government’s commitment to a carbon-free future by 2050, and to answer questions from those at the meeting. Below is the media statement explaining our support for the Government’s commitment to a Just Transition so workers are prepared for this new future.

MEDIA STATEMENT

This should be credited to Paul Tolich, Senior Industrial Officer, E tū.

“E tū supports the Government’s commitment to a Just Transition as it moves the country to a non-carbon future.

“The union also welcomes the assurance by the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern that no current jobs will be affected by the announcement last month that there will be no permits issued this year for off-shore oil and gas exploration.

“We also support and welcome the commitment to investment and development in diverse new industries in the Taranaki region, where so many of our members are based.

“We accept the reality of climate change and believe it’s important that we start preparing now for the transition to a non-carbon economy over the next 30 years. This is the first step in a plan for the future.

“A start has to be made now so this is a gradual change and people and communities can make the adjustment. This cannot be left to chance. We saw what happened when the economy restructured during the 1980s where there was no plan for new jobs for the people affected by those changes. That cannot happen this time. This time we have a plan with our commitment to a Just Transition.

“If there is to be a carbon-free future, then there has to be a government-supported plan that will quickly produce new, clean technologies in New Zealand. These will provide the new jobs in the energy industry of the future.

“Climate change and the drive to a non-carbon future are shaping our response – hence our support for the Just Transition process. But we must continue to campaign to turn a Just Transition plan into tangible results – specifically the production of goods and services by workers in new, quality jobs which are both skilled and well paid.

“This is our challenge. We are prepared to take this up on behalf of our members and their families.”

For further information, contact;

Paul Tolich ph. 027 593 5595