On the Picket Line

New Zealand CHEP pallet workers strike wins gains

By Felicity Coggan
March 21, 2022

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Workers at the CHEP pallet company’s service center here celebrated March 4 after voting unanimously to accept a new contract following a two-week strike. The FIRST Union members had kept up a round-the-clock picket line, successfully turning back many trucks from entering the plant.

Most workers will get a raise, earning at least 22.75 New Zealand dollars ($15.53) an hour, a NZ$2.75 increase over the old starting rate. Overtime rates will be time and a half for Saturday work and double for Sunday. The contract included a NZ$500 signing bonus and further pay raises later this year.

Union Secretary Mark Muller said on Facebook that it had taken “guts and resolve” for the workers to go out on strike, attributing their victory to “solidarity and this kind of firm commitment.”