27 Oct 2010

Unions vow to ramp up industrial action

6:00 am on 27 October 2010

Unions are vowing to ramp up their demands for better pay and working conditions.

Official figures for the year to the end of June show industrial disputes rose by 30% on the previous year.

Unite says it has unionised employees in small businesses including cafes, fast food outlets and cinemas.

Its next goal is to lift minimum pay rates to $15 per hour in time for the Rugby World Cup. At present, the hourly rate is $12.75.

Unite says employees want a share of the bounty from the event.

General secretary Matt McCarten says a petition calling for a $15 hourly rate has a quarter of a million signatures.

The Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union says it will seek new collective agreements which reinstate conditions lost under proposed law changes affecting sick leave, holiday pay and the 90 day probationary period.