10 Aug 2009

Telco line engineers on strike

9:52 pm on 10 August 2009

Hundreds of customers will experience delays in having broadband installed and faults repaired as Telecom service workers go on a nationwide strike.

The Australian company Vision Stream wants to hire 900 Telecom line engineers from Auckland and Northland as owner-operators. The Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union (EPMU) says the new system forces its members to become contractors, taking away their income and a guarantee of work.

Hundreds of service workers rallied at Telecom offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on Monday at the start of the two-day strike.

An organiser for the EPMU in Auckland, Joe Gallagher, says it is likely 100 workers on Auckland's North Shore, who have been on strike since last Wednesday, will continue their action thoughout the week.

Mr Gallagher says stopwork meetings will be held across the country next week, to decide the next move.

Telecom's network arm, Chorus, says business customers are not likely to be affected by the industrial action, but there will be some delays for residential customers.