BlueScope bosses get big bucks while workers get peanuts

Nicholas McCallum

Workers are standing up for a fairer share & to call out corporate greed. 

For the second time in 24 hours, nearly 900 steel New Zealand steel workers have stopped work to reject the low-ball pay offer from BlueScope steel.

The E Tu Union members stoppages follow similar actions across the Tasman, where earlier this month 500 workers walked off the job at Port Kembla amid calls for a fairer share for workers.

It was the latest action on both sides of the ditch, and across the world, where workers are standing up in solidarity against corporate greed and demanding a fairer share of the wealth they are creating through their hard work.

The stoppages outside the plant near Auckland come after E Tu rejected what it described as a “lowball offer” from the company following a record profit of $1.6 billion – up 80 per cent.

Despite the bumper profits, BlueScope offered its workers a raise of only 1% over the past two years and gave up their bonuses.

"While our Government is committed to lifting wages, internationally employers are co-ordinating a strategy to hold wages down," Joe Gallagher, E tū union Industry Coordinator, told the New Zealand Herald.

“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."

ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks was in Auckland to support the workers, calling for BlueScope to give its workers a fairer share following their sacrifices for the company.

“These workers in Auckland and their comrades south of Sydney have built the wealth for these companies through their hard work and by sacrificing bonuses,” Hicks said.

“It’s their hard work that has delivered BlueScope record profits and they deserve to be given a fairer share of the billions they built.

The National Secretary said workers around the world have had it with their bosses writing themselves multi-million-dollar cheques and paying out whopping dividends on the backs of their labour while they got little in return.

“Workers everywhere are sick of seeing their labour go to the very rich while they get given peanuts,” he said.

“That’s why we’re taking a stand here in Auckland, and we’re taking a stand in Port Kembla, and workers everywhere are taking a stand to say we’ve had enough, and we will overcome this corporate greed.

“Workers can and will get a fairer share of the wealth they are creating because that’s what’s fair.”


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