The strike affects about 120 members at Pacific Steel’s rolling mill and wire mill.
Also, at 7am on Wednesday, about 750 members from BlueScope’s NZ Steel mill at Glenbrook will strike for 12 hours.
Union members voted to strike over the low-ball pay offers BlueScope has presented to its workers both here and in Australia, where BlueScope members in Port Kembla have begun rolling strike action.
E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says BlueScope refuses to budge on its offer, despite posting a huge profit of AUD$1.6 billion this year.
BlueScope’s New Zealand companies lifted earnings by 80% - the highest return in the business.
“While our Government is committed to lifting wages, internationally employers are coordinating a strategy to hold wages down,” says Joe.
“There is a clear and growing trend of top multi-national companies presenting low pay offers, despite big profits. We’re seeing this in the mining sector, with the low-ball offer to our members at OceanaGold, and other sectors are sending the same message.”
At NZ Steel, workers had a pay rise of just one percent over the past two years and also gave up their bonuses, saving BlueScope millions of dollars.
“Fair’s fair,” says Joe. “It’s time to give back to the workers who took a hit when times were tough. This is hot, dirty and hazardous work and yes, our members get paid for that.
“But this is a dispute about a company that’s delivered an eye-watering profit and thinking it’s ok to offer a mean-spirited pay rise to its highly skilled steel workers. It isn’t.”