Fuji Xerox New Zealand has “expressed disappointment” at the decision of 45 engineering staff to go on strike today, following direction by trade union E tū.
The strike - “in support of a decent pay offer” - impacts the vendor’s four sites in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin with members walking off the job from 8:30am until 4:30pm on Monday 25 February.
According to Joe Gallagher - industry coordinator at E tū - members voted “overwhelmingly” to strike at meetings last week, following an alleged failure to resolve pay issues, which includes “discriminatory treatment against union members”.
“Our members are very angry,” Gallagher said. “First, the company actually lifted wages to stop people being poached by its competitors.
“But while one group of union members got the increase, another group in Auckland got nothing. To add fuel to the fire, while the union negotiated the pay rise, non-union members also received it.”
Gallagher said talks have been ongoing between both parties since August 2018, with the matter yet to be resolved.
“Our people who missed out want that money and they’re determined to fight to get it,” Gallagher added.
In response, Fuji Xerox has “expressed disappointment” at the move, claiming the decision was made during the middle of ongoing collective agreement negotiations.
Specifically, the vendor said it received an email from the union on Friday 22 February at 4:30pm, confirming strike action would commence from 7:30am on Monday 25 February.
“Our latest offer is an increase in base salary by two per cent effective 1 July 2019, and we have also confirmed that performance bonuses for our customer service engineers and technical specialists will be increased by up to 60 per cent, which will be received if the engineers meet their performance targets,” said Danielle Everett, general manager of Human Resources and Legal at Fuji Xero New Zealand.
“This represents an approximate 3.1 per cent increase to overall salary, not taking the superannuation impact benefit into consideration.
“In the wider context of the company’s financial situation where a number of our workforce have had to be made redundant and more than $370 million of losses written off over the last two years, we are doing everything we reasonably can to recognise the value of our people here.”
In New Zealand, union members make up approximately one third of Fuji Xerox engineering workforce.
Everett said the company remains hopeful that the union representing the engineers will “return to the table” to continue talks in an “open, constructive and good faith manner”.
“We have a large enough proportion of engineering staff that are not involved in the strike action who have stepped up to ensure there will be no impact to our customers today,” Everett added.
However, Gallagher said members are unhappy about the company’s two per cent pay offer, "with no backpay", despite a collective agreement expiring in July last year.
“This is a multi-national company that has been mismanaged over the past few years and there have been job losses affecting our members,” Gallagher added. "Those who remain are working harder, smarter and longer and they want fair recompense.”
In response, a statement from Fuji Xerox New Zealand said the company “remains unclear” of the union’s current negotiation position in regards to all claims that were made, and is awaiting a "full and formal response" following "substantial correspondence" sent to them in December 2018 regarding the matter.
Furthermore, the company also claimed that it is also unable to agree to the union’s claim of no pass on, "an important principle of Fuji Xerox NZ’s is that everyone is treated as one team, regardless of whether they are union members or not".