1 Oct 2009

Former Telecom lines workers protest at AGM

7:45 pm on 1 October 2009

More than 150 former Telecom lines workers protested outside the company's annual general meeting in Auckland on Thursday.

The Auckland and Northland workers have been laid off by Transfield and Downer EDI, which have been replaced by new contractor, Australian company Visionstream.

The former workers were protesting at Visionstream's move to have independent contractors.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union organiser Joe Gallagher says 600 Auckland and Northland workers are now redundant, and do not want to sign up to Visionstream.

On Thursday, former workers and union members handed leaflets to shareholders asking them to negotiate a fair deal, and chanting "stand up, fight back".

Mr Gallagher says thousands of Telecom customers in Auckland and Northland are having delays in their lines being repaired as a result, and former workers will continue to protest.

Telecom's network arm Chorus says about 2000 customers are waiting for lines services in Auckland and Northland.

In Northland, the delays are up to two weeks for some customers.

Chorus and the EPMU met for discussions on how to resolve the contract dispute and the large delays in Northland.

The union says it advised Chorus it wants a wage-based model and says it is awaiting their reply.