10 Jul 2009

Stoush brewing for telephone line workers

3:18 pm on 10 July 2009

An industrial row is developing between telecommunications workers and a company seeking to turn them into self-employed contractors.

The dispute affects around 900 people who install and repair telephone lines and other equipment in Auckland and Northland.

They work for two companies subcontracted to the Telecom network subsidiary, Chorus.

A new company, Visionstream, has won those subcontracts and wants the personnel to change from employees into owner operators.

In a statement, Visionstream said the proposal is proving popular with the workforce and many have sought information on how it would work.

But the Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union, which represents around half the employees involved, meets next Wednesday to plan moves against the scheme.