nationwide telecom strike starts today - RePress

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Monday, August 24

nationwide telecom strike starts today

Up to 900 Telecom lines engineers will be taking nationwide strike action today to protest Telecom's attacks on their incomes and employment rights.

The strike coincides with the first redundancies in Auckland and Northland and follows a series of strikes and work-bans that have seen at least one broadband supplier, Orcon, advise customers of significant disruption. EPMU national telecommunications organiser Joe Gallagher says Telecom's contracting model is putting the future of New Zealand's network at risk.

"This dispute isn't just about our members' employment but about an industry that has been run-down and squeezed for profit until it is dry. "A lot of our telecommunications infrastructure dates back to the thirties and many of our exchanges are a decade past their use-by date but instead of investing in the skilled workers needed to keep it running and improve it Telecom are driving them out of the industry.

"Our members from the Philippines are shocked when they come to New Zealand and see just how ancient our network is and many of them have to learn the old tricks to cope with a network so far behind what they are used to.

"What the public need to understand is that the kind of disruption caused by this dispute will become the status quo if Telecom succeeds in destroying our members' jobs."

The EPMU represents 1500 telecommunications workers of which around 900 are directly involved in this dispute.

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