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Recession puts brakes on work stoppages to June

Oct 27th, 2009 | By | Category: Latest News, News

Year to June figures for 2009 are down compared with the previous year

Year to June figures for 2009 are down compared with the previous year

In the year to June there were just 18 work stoppages, compared with 30 in the same period last year, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The stoppages this year equate to about $300,000 in lost wages and salary, compared with a $3.9 m loss involving 7200 employees the previous year.

Engineering, Print and Manufacturing Union spokesman Rob Egan says a lot has happened since June.

He says employees from DB Breweries Ltd are now on strike, as staff will not receive a wage increase as a show of employer clawback.

MCK Metals Pacific are also tightening their terms of redundancy for new staff, he says.

Council of Trade Union (CTU) economist Bill Rosenberg says the figures may be skewed by one or two public sector employers where a stoppage can affect hundreds of staff.

However, Mr Rosenberg suggested people may also be more cautious about industrial action in a recession.

CTU spokesman Fraser Pettigrew says an interesting feature of the June figures is they showed there were no lockouts. He suggests that kind of dispute is sometimes not recorded and so may not be captured by statistics.

The chief executive of the  Northern Employers & Manufacturers Association, Alasdair Thompson, says while industrial relations have been good for the past 18 months, some employees are feeling the pressure of lower pay and changes in work conditions.

“Employees understand the financial stress in which they and their employers are under.”

However, Mr Thompson says that since the close of the June period, there are signs that relations are breaking.

NZ Bus and Open Country Cheese are examples of recent unrest.

Industries hit most frequently by stoppages were transport, postal and warehousing.

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