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Agreement reached over multi-million dollar Tiwai in lieu arrears

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

E tū and New Zealand Aluminium Smelters (NZAS) met in Wellington on Tuesday 12 July 2016 to discuss the way forward in the Lieu Day dispute.

At the meeting New Zealand Aluminium Smelters explained the methodologies used to calculate entitlements for 64 union members who took court action over their lieu days.

A settlement is pending after the courts found workers on 12 hour shifts at the smelter should have had their lieu days for public holidays assessed as 12 hour days - not 8 hour days as was the case.

The final settlement will see upwards of $20 million worth of leave and pay arrears allocated to about 450 current and former smelter employees.

Pay outs will be governed by the same methodology used to calculate entitlements for the 64 litigants, subject to company consultation and feedback.

The arrears apply to all current staff, employed prior to April 1st, 2004, who worked those shifts within the last 25 years.

Many former workers will also receive a pay-out, with New Zealand Aluminium Smelters setting a cut-off date for former employees of 1 January 2010.

The period for consultation and feedback closes on the 22 July 2016.

E tÅ« Southland organiser, Trevor Hobbs who initiated the case on behalf of the 64 union members says: "It’s been a long, hard road but at the end of the day I’m pleased to see the system in New Zealand has upheld the workers’ rights."

He says hundreds of workers are reaping the rewards of action taken by the union, "so the lesson to be learnt from this case is the well-known phrase: you are stronger together than you are standing on your own."

He urged all Tiwai workers to join the union, and work to address other anomalies at Tiwai.

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