About 60 call-centre workers walked off the job in Auckland City in their fight for better pay and work conditions
About 60 call-centre workers walked off the job in Auckland City to share awareness of their pay and work conditions.
According to First Union, it became evident at a strike earlier this month that the company is “more concerned” over picketers’ use of a cut out of American actor Alec Baldwin “than the way staff are being treated”.
First Union allege Baldwin was paid large sums to be the face of GEM Visa and his image used to be throughout the call centre offices in Auckland City.
The Latitude Finance (provider of GEM Visa) workers took to the streets to “bring the company back to the table after it publicly stated it would and then refused to meet with workers”.
Moreover, it is the second time the workers have been on strike in March.
The current offer from the company is 3% which workers have been told is the one and only offer.
However, a spokeswoman for Latitude Finance told the New Zealand Herald that the three percent offer was both 'fair and reasonable' and it was bargaining in good faith.
According to Latitude Financial Services, the company only has 48 union members in its workforce and no longer uses Baldwin in its advertising.
However, First Union Organiser Kate Davis said staff are angry the company has gone back on its word.
“Staff are incredibly saddened that the company would refuse to negotiate after saying publicly that it would, the conditions and pay the workers are trying to settle are basic income claims,” she said.
Davis added that the pay offer is less than $5 dollars a day which won’t pay for parking for one day let alone keep up with Auckland’s living costs or the increases relative to the minimum wage increase.
“The increase of 3% would equate to around $20 dollars a week, that’s not enough for a day’s parking, let alone living costs in Auckland city,” said Davis.
“Latitude needs to do better and look after its workers. We hope the procession of Alec Baldwin heads will communicate this because it’s evident that they don’t know how a negotiation works: one offer is not negotiation!”