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Workers ban overtime at Blue Star NZ

Wednesday, 16 May 2018
By Print21

Blue Star Group’s McCollams Print, Auckland.

Workers at Blue Star Group’s four print shops in New Zealand have begun industrial action over wage claims, with an overtime ban in place from midnight last night.

The overtime ban will affect McCollams Print and Nicholson Print in Auckland as well as Format Print and Print Link in Wellington, which prints the Budget.

E tū union industry coordinator Joe Gallagher says the action is a response to Blue Star’s “unreasonable demands” during bargaining to renew the collective agreement, which expired last year.

“The company wants to claw back terms and conditions related to shift arrangements. At the moment, they can change shifts if workers agree. But Blue Star wants to be able to do this as of right. They’ve told us if workers don’t agree to this they can apply for voluntary redundancy. In other words, take it or leave it, which is unacceptable. This would leave these workers with no control over their lives, their time with their kids and families and what they do on the weekend.”

Gallagher says members want to preserve their right to consultation “because they’ve built their lives around their working arrangements.” Workers are also unhappy over Blue Star’s demand that they disclose if they have a secondary job, he says.

“I asked what business that is of theirs and they cited health and safety. But what they really want is the right to reach into other people’s lives. Instead of addressing issues of fair pay, they’re trying to dictate what workers do outside their working hours.”

Blue Star Group’s New Zealand businesses are owned by Tom Sturgess and private equity group Mercury Capital.

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